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Junior Achievement high school programs are headed to Tampa Bay

The programs motivate students by allowing them to learn through real business projects.

TAMPA — A struggling student with a difficult home life, Jaylin Hudson didn’t realize his potential.

That all changed at Banneker High School in College Park, Georgia.

A Junior Achievement program helped him realize, “I simply just learned it differently from most students,” the 17-year-old told a Tampa audience on Friday.

Today he is a student leader and athlete. He is confident, focused and headed for a summer engineering program at the Georgia Institute for Technology.

The school also underwent a dramatic turnaround. Once shunned as a failing school, former principal Duke Bradley III said, Banneker saw its graduation rate climb by 30 points. It is now considered “a model of transformation.”

The common denominator in these two stories is 3DE, a curriculum created by the Junior Achievement organization.

3DE brings corporations into high schools, and special training for teachers that result in project-based learning that enables students to see real-time applications for what they learn in class.

The program, which originated at Banneker and has since expanded, will be launched in the 2020-21 school year at Chamberlain and Hillsborough high schools in Tampa, Dunedin and St. Petersburg high schools in Hillsborough.

The principals of Chamberlain and Hillsborough were among dozens of political officials, School Board members and business leaders who celebrated the venture at a fundraising lunch on Friday.

Guests included Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and a capella singers from Plant High and Chiles Elementary School.

The Hillsborough school district website offers sign-up information here for Chamberlain and Hillsborough.