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Teen Entrepreneurs from Hoover High School Named National "JA Company of the Year"

On Wednesday, June 22, the teen entrepreneurs of Brain Wave, a JA student company from North Canton, Ohio, representing Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio (JANCO), were selected from among 15 student companies as the JA Company of the Year while participating in Junior Achievement's (JA) 2022 National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS). The competition took place in Washington, D.C.

Brain Wave is a JA company that focuses on helping people keep their brains sharp by improving logical thinking skills, memory, and creativity through fun, mentally stimulating exercises. Brain Wave’s product is a cognitive activity book filled with a variety of brain teasers that challenge the mind. The exercises appeal to a wide range of ages, and each task helps improve a different part of the brain.

Brain Wave CEO Jesse Halmasy called the honor “the most incredible experience of my life and I can honestly say this is the greatest team I have ever been a part of.” He went on to say, “This year my team and I learned so many incredible life lessons through Junior Achievement as well as from our teachers, Mr. Grady and Mrs. Snider.”

Lori McCleese, President of JANCO, praised the participating JA companies from Hoover High School and Lake High School: “The staff and board from JA of North Central Ohio are incredibly proud of all three teams that were chosen to participate in the JA USA National Student Leadership Summit.  To once again have the JA Company of the Year chosen from our area shows the legacy of this program at Hoover High School.  It was a joy to work with the students throughout the year and witness their growth as young entrepreneurs. Mike Grady will be in the JA USA Company Program history books.”

Brain Wave’s instructor at Hoover High School is Mike Grady, who has led four JA teams to a JA Company of the Year title in the last five years. “I’m so proud of all my students from both companies this year. Congratulations to Brain Wave who worked hard all year and always looked for ways to grow and improve. We all feel very fortunate to be able to represent our community on the national stage.”

In addition to winning the JA Company of the Year title, the teens representing the first-place student company were each awarded a $3,000 JA Company of the Year Scholarship, awarded by the Achievement Foundation.  Additionally, the JA Company of the Year will move on to represent JA USA in the JA Worldwide De La Vega Global Entreprenuership competition.

JA NSLS is a contest of business skills, ingenuity, and innovation that focuses on the accomplishments of the US JA Company Program ® students, ages 15-19, during the 2021-2022 academic year. JA Company Program students start and run a real business enterprise under the guidance of a volunteer from the local business community. They devise and market a product or service that fills an unmet consumer need and recruit investors for their company.

The student companies competing at the NSLS were assessed on both their business performance as well as the personal and professional development of individual team members. Scored elements of the competition included a self-produced annual report and commercial, a live virtual presentation to a panel of business leaders, and interviews with judges.

The fifteen finalist teams that participated were:

  • Amity – JA of Greater Washington (Washington, D.C., Area)
  • Botl+ – JA of Northern New England (Boston, MA, Area)
  • Brain Wave – JA of North Central Ohio (Canton, OH, Area)
  • Charcute – JA of San Diego County (San Diego, CA, Area)
  • Dulicious Co – JA of Southeast Texas (Houston, TX, Area)
  • Ecossentials – JA of South Florida (Fort Lauderdale, FL, Area)
  • EVO – JA of Southeast Texas (Houston, TX, Area)
  • Embracelet – JA of Northern California (San Francisco, CA, Area)
  • Gateway Clothing Co – JA of Greater St. Louis (Chesterfield, MO, Area)
  • InnoVistics – JA of North Central Ohio (Canton, OH, Area)
  • IRIS – JA of Greater Washington (Washington, D.C., Area)
  • On The Money Magazine – JA of Chicago (Chicago, IL, Area)
  • Relaxivibe – JA of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA, Area)
  • Sababa – JA of North Central Ohio (Canton, OH, Area)
  • TriSense – JA of Northern New England (Boston, MA, Area)


Media Contacts:

Lori McCleese
Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio
(330) 433-0063

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