Student Interns Create Graphics Project that Benefits our Community

Student Interns Create Graphics Project that Benefits our Community

Najae Duncan of Pathways Academy of Technology & Design is the student CEO & President of JACustoms, a group of 13 student interns from from 4 different public schools in the Greater Hartford area. Their business, JACustoms (part of Junior Achievement) has started two campaigns. They both have to do with the sale of frames, with original graphic design messages, and all proceeds go to local businesses and font-line workers. The group of students were mentored ove the summer by John Griffin, a retired Pathways teacher and presently the Director of Programs for Pathways Entrepreneurial Labs. He is working with this group of students through the Junior Achievement program. There are seven Pathways students and 6 students that come from East Hartford High, Global Communications, CIBA, and New Britain High.

The Pathways Academy students are:
Katelyn Archambault, 10th grade
Laxmi Vobbineni, 10th grade
Najae Duncan, 12th grade
Natalie Sherer, 11th grade
Shah Arian, 10th grade
Viveca Garcia, 10th grade
Kenneth Tejada, 12th grade

Mr. Duncan states, “Since the start of Covid-19 we all have had to make adjustments to our lives. We see that so many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat while the front-line workers put their lives on the line day in and day out.”

The students decided to make a difference with their business and they are asking for our help.

As a company, they made the decision to give 100% of profits to support:

• 16-20 local businesses by buying gift cards (chosen by JACustoms students)

• 64-80 front-line workers who will receive the gift cards (chosen by JACustoms students)

The students hope that you be able to support their business by buying a picture frame $10 (or two) in honor of either of the two below campaigns so that we can in turn help those two groups stated above.


Honoring the seniors graduating this year, who are missing out on the memories and milestones that every student awaits years to make. Don’t have a senior to support? That’s OK just buy a frame and we will give it to a needy senior in your name. (See attached file for frame and card image).


Celebrating the mothers who were our first teacher, her job to show us how. She was there for us then, and believes in us now. (See attached file for frame and card image).

The more frames they sell the more we they help. You can buy a frame in the following ways:

1. Email if you have any questions or concerns with the ordering process.

2. Go to click on order form or order here.

Mr. Duncan states, “Please help support our efforts by spreading the word. Feel free to forward the email to friends, family or co-workers. The recipient of this gift will be happy to know that the proceeds of this gift will support our efforts to help our community.”

All the students are very active in entrepreneurship, and learning about becoming more professional in their personal and business lives.

John Griffin explained that JACustoms is a business that was originally about using the talents of the students in the area of laser engraving and applying it to the product that was chosen a frame. But with the coronavirus pandemic that came around the business had to pivot a number of times to make things work. You have to realize many of the JA groups closed down because there was no more in person meetings. This group continued to work on their goal hoping in some way to be able to print on the frames. Unfortunately this is not the case. The actual program is scheduled to close on May 17th so the students decided to go with a metal frame that was a good looking frame and add a uniquely designed card that would be added to each frame that tells the senior about why they are getting it and how 100% of the profits are going to help small local businesses and front-line workers.

Mr. Griffin states, “The students have truly gained an eye opening look at starting a business and how decisions have to be made every minute. They also learned to adapt and pivot when obstacles are thrown at you.”