When Paris Morin graduated from Archbishop MacDonald High School in 2015, not only had she completed the regular Grade 12 diploma requirements, but she had also acquired invaluable work-readiness skills through her involvement with Junior Achievement. In fact, Paris has received a number of awards recognizing her remarkable entrepreneurial skills. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Deloitte Inspiration Award. In her 500-word essay and approximately four-minute video, Paris explained how Junior Achievement programs have boosted her self-confidence, so that she is now more open to change and growth and consequently much more willing to take risks.
Paris put the money she received from the Deloitte Inspiration Award towards university tuition, but the highlight for her was the all-expenses-paid trip to Toronto to the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. In Toronto, she spent two jam-packed days attending a public speaking workshop and polishing her speech, meeting the CEO of Chapters and Indigo, and benefitting from a multitude of networking opportunities.
In 2014, Paris won the Social Entrepreneurship Award, the Top Sales Person Award, and The CANJAC Award. To top it all, her company won local and national recognition for Company of the Year. She also travelled to Ecuador for the Company of the Year competition and to Mexico for the FIE (International Entrepreneurs’ Forum) conference.
Paris first heard of Junior Achievement in Grade 5, when she took part in a workshop offered at her school, École Publique Gabrielle Roy. She remembers participating in the assembly-line process making pens, and, perhaps sensing that small business and entrepreneurship were in her future, she kept all the materials she received that day.
In Grade 10, Archbishop MacDonald represented a fresh start, and when Paris noticed posters advertising JA programs, she seized the chance to explore new possibilities and meet new people. She is very thankful she took this chance, because she says that JA is now a huge part of her life. She has participated in the company program in each of her high school years. In Grade 10, she was VP for Information Technology and had responsibility for social media and data management. In Grade 11, as president, Paris had full oversight of her company’s operations. In Grade 12, her position of VP for Marketing allowed her to discover her strengths and also revealed areas for improvement. Paris found that she especially enjoyed the people side of marketing, and she put a lot of energy into building good relationships among team members. In addition, she gained an appreciation for the demanding, detail-oriented nature of advertising and design.
Her 2015 company, Four Corners, featured ecofriendly picture frames. Company members spruced up plain wooden frames by using recycled materials and creating innovative designs. An assembly-line process would not work for these custom frames, and Paris put a great deal of time and energy into tailoring the frames to fit various spaces such as the interior of student lockers. All in all, her company managed to produce over 300 frames before finally running out of materials.
Paris was active in student life at Archbishop MacDonald and found time to be secretary for the Students’ Union. She also stayed on top of her academic work and wrote Grade 12 diplomas as well as an IB French exam.
Paris said that her experience with JA has taught her to prioritize, and she recognizes that some of her other interests have to take a back seat when JA programs are in full swing. For instance, there was not much time for travelling during her Grade 12 year. However, she made up for lost time by travelling to Hawaii, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio during the summer. She took part in SUNIA, a one-week United Nations camp offered at the Goldeneye Centre near Nordegg, Alberta. Paris also likes to spend time reading, and she enjoys expanding her mind by listening to Ted Talks.
Paris is currently enrolled in the Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta. After that, she thinks she will most likely pursue her interest in business. With her JA experience, she could not be better positioned for success in that field.