Paige Thomson is a most deserving winner of the 2015 Achiever of the Year award. She has consistently shown a willingness to help others and an admirable dedication to the core values of Junior Achievement.
Paige first heard of Junior Achievement in Grade Nine, when the organization offered a course on budgeting and financial literacy at her school. When she investigated further, she decided that she could learn a great deal from the practical, hands-on knowledge offered through the Junior Achievement programs. However, her first challenge was to make a convincing pitch to her somewhat apprehensive parents. Fortunately her pitch was successful, and her parents began making the weekly 45-minute drive through rush- hour traffic to JA headquarters.
Paige thrived in the after-school company program, where she learned how to take the lead, and how to take risks. Above all, she cherished the independence that the student-run company offered. Soon Paige began winning awards like, for example, Top Sales Person in 2012 and the CANJAC award in 2014. In Grade 11, she won a place at a five-day youth conference to Mexico for Junior Achievement of America. Other highlights included two separate job-shadowing days, the first involving a behind-the-scenes look at the Edmonton Oilers operations with Darcy Steen. The second day was spent with Tim Reid, CEO of Northlands, when she was given a full tour of Northlands and Rexall Place. Her increasing self-confidence became abundantly obvious, and no more pitches were necessary because her parents were now enthusiastic supporters of JA.
In 2015, Paige’s company chose a galaxy theme and the slogan “Reach for the Stars” for marketing the product they called Astro-Knots. Her company pitched Astro-Knots — paracord lanyards and bracelets — as a rope product that combined both fashion and utility. Worn as a lanyard or bracelet, and coming in a range of attractive colours, the product was fashionable. Having a tensile strength of about 500 pounds and providing a rope eight to twelve feet in length when unraveled, the product was useful in emergency situations. Company members voted to donate 50 per cent of the profits — nearly $700 — to iHuman Youth Society.
In her company, Paige chose the role of VP Human Resources, and she succeeded in keeping the morale in her company high and organizing great team-bonding and volunteering events. As vice president, Paige had the opportunity to hone her time-management skills, since in addition to the weekly three-hour sessions, she put in extra work doing an audit, and preparing a business plan and a shareholders’ report. In fact, for a while, Paige practically lived downtown spending three or four evenings a week at JA headquarters because she was also practicing for her role as a student keynote speaker for the JA Alberta Business Hall of Fame as well as MC for the upcoming Company Awards Night.
Despite her heavy involvement in JA activities, Paige still managed to stay on the honour roll at school, and maintain her commitments as vice president of the student council and president of the Social Justice Council! In her spare time, Paige plays the piano and guitar, enjoys baking and spending time outdoors, has a part-time job, and volunteers in her community.
Paige values the many practical skills she acquired through Junior Achievement programs — time management, public speaking, and confidence in meeting new people, to name just a few — and she knows she will put these skills to good use in the future. Paige is registered in the Bachelor of Science program at MacEwan University and plans to take a biology major with a business minor. She is also the 2015/16 student representative on the JA Board of Directors.