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Midtown Elementary’s Seth Gunter, 11, is articulate, clearly intelligent and thoughtful.
It’s why he was selected to emcee the Junior Achievement Awareness Breakfast to benefit Junior Achievement of Tennessee. Seth was “discovered” while participating with other Midtown Elementary School fifth graders in Junior Achievement’s Biztown — the interactive mock town where students fill a variety of roles in a community.
Gunter was elected mayor before leaving school that day for Biztown while others filled other occupations, from radio to restaurant operator to banker.
“I only heard from one person why they picked me (as mayor) and it was because I was trustworthy,” said Gunter.
“It is a great program that prepares young people to be ready for the real world,” said principal Kendra Inman. It goes beyond just the duties of jobs, but focuses on skills such as balancing a checkbook and managing schedules.
Gunter was noticed for his maturity at the Biztown field trip and was later interviewed for the chance to emcee the breakfast.
“Seth’s teacher told me he impressed them so much by the way he handled his position as mayor,” Inman said.
“We were really proud of him because he was chosen in an interview process. There were older boys and girls interviewed.”
Inman said the event gave youth an opportunity to share how Junior Achievement has made a difference in their lives.
“He’s so mature and watching him stand up there and speak so fluently and with such a wonderful vocabulary — you don’t see it very often in a fifth grader. It is obvious he is very smart,” Inman said.
Gunter said he was nervous.
“I kind of hid it, though. It is easy for me to do that because I play in the church band (at Morrison Hill First Christian Church),” Gunter said.
He also has his own personal band.
“I had to learn how to channel all those nerves,” he added.
Gunter enjoyed his tenure as mayor at Biztown, which he described as a sort of boardwalk with businesses.
His mayoral duties included signing checks. He didn’t get the chance to make any governmental hires or fires.
“I wish I could have, but no,” he said.
Gunter said Biztown prepares young people for how difficult adulthood can be.
“It kind of teaches kids our age that it is hard to live in an adult society,” Gunter said.
Inman said Biztown is a resource.
“We have so many kids who are not familiar with what it is going to take to really go into the world and make a way for themselves in the world,” Inman said.
The Junior Achievement programs focus on work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills — and uses hands-on learning.
There are more than 120 Junior Achievement areas operating in the United States, including several in Tennessee.