Junior Achievement of North Florida is commemorating its 50th anniversary this year. On Thursday it held its annual Hall of Fame luncheon where it honors volunteers and local business leaders for their support.
The biggest award of the day is named after Florida Rock Industries founder Thompson S. Baker and was given to Jaguars owner Shad Khan. The award recognizes individuals who have dedicated themselves to improve the community through their leadership, hands on involvement and philanthropic efforts.
It's the 15th year the award has been presented. Previous recipients include Preston Haskell, Tillie Fowler, John Fryer, Bill and Eloise Gay, Wayne and Delores Weaver and last year's recipient Harry Frisch.
Khan says he was honored to be given the award and humbled to be linked with the previous recipients.
The Jaguars owner says Junior Achievement is a great program that personifies every that is great about America. "Capitalism, free enterprise, self-initiative, it's quite special."
The business leaders who attended the ceremony also heard from Duval County School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti who praised J-A as a program that help students learn about business and critical thinking. He has expanded the reach of Junior Achievement in the school system.
Vitti urged more business leaders to participate in J-A. He says it's a great way to get involved in transforming public education while connecting with children in the community.