SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Honoring our communities youngest achievers Thursday night in Springfield!

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts honored 18 students from middle and high schools throughout Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties Thursday evening.

It’s part of the 18 under 18 class of 2023, held at Tower Square, and provides an opportunity to recognize outstanding young people throughout the area, and honor up-and-comers who exemplify innovative spirit, leadership and community involvement.

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts President Jennifer Connelly telling 22News, “We started this after the pandemic because when we got back into the schools and talking with the students that we knew, we felt like they were very disconnected and felt alone. So we thought 18 under 18; We will recognize 18 amazing young people and we will share their stories with the region and let them feel good about themselves.”

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts is a part of the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.