“Happiness is a continuation of happenings which are not resisted.”

– Deepak Chopra

WNY Sophomore Academy Students Attend NAF Student Conference

Millennium Hotel, Buffalo, NY – The WNY Regional NAF Advisory Board is hosting its annual NAF Student Conference on Monday, March 19, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., at the Millennium Hotel in Buffalo, NY.  The Advisory Board is a non-profit entity comprised of directors of local Academies, as well as local business professionals and community leaders who volunteer to support quality education in WNY.  The conference is part of a $25,000 grant recently awarded to the WNY Regional NAF Advisory Board by State Farm Insurance.


NAF (formerly the National Academy Foundation) is a national, non-profit organization whose mission is to assist high schools in establishing Academy programs designed to provide students with the skills necessary to be successful in their future academics and careers.  There are currently 12 school districts in Western New York running NAF Academies. They include: Clarence, Depew, Evans, Hamburg, Health Sciences Charter, Lancaster, Lewiston-Porter, Maryvale, North Tonawanda, Orchard Park, West Seneca, and Wilson.


The conference provides over 200 sophomore Academy students from around WNY the opportunity to attend sessions in areas such as interviewing skills, social media dos and don’ts, how to use LinkedIn, information networking, and more, in an effort to improve their professional skills.  In addition, local students have the ability to network with like-minded students from around Western New York. The event will conclude with a luncheon.

Wilson Academy of Finance Financial Literacy Fair

On January 17, 2018, the Wilson Academy of Finance had their Financial Literacy Fair. Over 100 Freshmen from our Principles of Finance class presented their team projects to 30 of our local community/business leaders and advisory board members.  Additionally, 26 upperclassmen from their Financial Planning class individually presented a financial plan they hope to have when they are at the age of 25.

1st Annual WNY High School Career & Professional Etiquette Conference

On Feb. 9, 2018, the WNY Regional NAF Advisory Board along with the Niagara Frontier Industry and Education Council (NFIEC) hosted a student conference for 325 juniors and seniors from 11 WNY schools.  The half day conference focused on professional development, soft skills, and dining etiquette.  In addition, there was a college fair where students could meet and speak with representatives from a number of local colleges.


Clarence Recognized as 2017 Organization of the Year

Date: 3/2/17
The Clarence High School Academy of Business and Finance was recognized on Thursday, March 2, 2017 by the Clarence Chamber of Commerce as the 2017 Organization of the Year. The Academy program, which started with their NAF year of planning  in October 2010, partners with business within the Clarence and Western New York community to provide students with extended learning experiences to support their learning and development of critical skills needed for today’s workplace. The business community has provided guest speakers, field trips, scholarships, donations, business partnership, career coaching, mock interviews, support for the classroom and over 107 paid internships to date. The award and the success of this Academy is largely impart to the tireless efforts of the Clarence business community and advisory board who have grown the Academy over the past six years.

Cheektowaga, NY – Academy Students Attend College and Career Conference

Date : 3/8/16

Over 275 high school students attended a day long student conference at the Millennium Hotel in Cheektowaga on March 8, 2016, where they participated in college and career workshops in preparation for the next step of their life journey. The students, who came from 14 local high schools, were all members of their high school’s NAF Academy.   Students participated in an ice breaker designed to get them “out of their comfort zone” in order to meet students from other high schools. They then attended several workshops such as “Where Do I Fit in the World of Work”, Effective Presentations, Social Media Do’s and Don’ts and Interpersonal Leadership:  Success through Connections.  Workshops were presented by local business professionals such as Russ Kamis from the Kamis Group, Ron Ruggiero, FOSTER Communications and Bridget Russo, Catholic Health Systems.

After successfully navigating their way through the workshops, the students enjoyed a plenary luncheon in the ballroom where Mr. Steve Tasker provided an insightful speech on working hard to achieve your goals. He cited the many hours of hard work he put in prior to becoming a well-known sports figure and commentator.

The program was sponsored by the WNY Regional NAF Academy Advisory Board with financial assistance from State Farm Insurance. Plans are already underway to hold this event once again next Spring.

NAF 14th Annual Benefit

Date: 5/9/17

The Hamburg Academy of Finance (AOF) program from Hamburg High School was selected as one of nine academies out of 700 to attend NAF’s 14th annual benefit in May at The InterContinental New York Barclay in New York City.  Hamburg AOF student members Ethan Pohlman, Chris Janak, Tyler Ahearn and James Shields networked with and presented to representatives from such top companies as JPMorgan Chase & Co., World Wide Technology and SAP North America. They discussed how they have used their NAF academy experience to prepare for college and careers. They also demonstrated how project-based learning experiences, including the recent Village of Hamburg MLK Day of Service Food Drive and internships, have paved the way for their future aspirations. NAF is a national network of education, business and community leaders who work together to ensure that high school students are college, career and future ready.

Krissy Lawrence
Internship Supervisor
Business Teacher

2017 NAF Bank On It Tournament

Congratulations to Hamburg Academy of Finance student Katherine Leyonmark who competed as a finalist in NAF’s Bank On It Accounting Tournament which was held last week in Dallas, Texas.  Bank On It, which was a contest sponsored by the American Institute of CPA’ws (AICPA), is an interactive game that challenges students on accounting principles and gives them a taste of real world financial scenarios.

After winning a series of live competitions against students from all over the country as a project during her AOF Accounting class, Katherine advanced to the Bank On It Final Four Tournament.  Business teachers Mrs. Lawrence, Mrs. Munich and Mrs. Sampson couldn’t be more proud as they rooted Katherine on as she competed LIVE in Dallas at NAFNext 2017, NAF’s annual professional development conference in front of a huge crowd!    

Katherine won the first round of the Final Four Tournament advancing to the final two where she ended up as the Bank On It runner up! Way to represent Hamburg, NY and Hamburg Academy of Finance nationally Katherine!  


NAFNext 2017

On July 9 – 12 at the Texan Gaylord, NAFNext 2017 proved to be a dynamic conference for over 1,900 attendees.  Filled with interactive learning sessions, panel discussions with corporate partners, student-center activities and plenary sessions that recognized accomplishments, representatives from West Seneca, Hamburg, Depew, Clarence and Health Sciences Charter School Academies were in attendance.

Learning session presentations were given by Heather Hartmann and Diane Andriaccio from Clarence HS Academy of Business and Finance to highlight technical writing and corporate support through mentorship called “Integrating Communication Skills into Career Prep Programs.”  Take Charge Today Master Teachers Krissy Lawrence and Lisa Bender gave a highly “charged” presentation called “Get Your $$$ Grove On with Take Charge Today.”

Fred Vosburgh, from JP Morgan participated on a panel discussion called “Connect:  Taking Corporate Engagement to the Next Level” along with corporate partners from KPMG and Lexmark International and NAF alumni Jacqueline Revilla from Woodrow Wilson AOHT.  Fred spoke about his participation as a board member on the Clarence Academy of Business and Finance, his involvement as a business partner and as parent of a NAF Academy graduate.  Mr. Vosburgh takes on the role of Chairman of the WNY NAF Regional Board with the goal of developing a productive and skill-based workforce pipeline for business in Western New York.

Hamburg Academy of Finance student Katherine Leyonmark advanced to the final round of the AICPA’s Bank on It, an accounting simulation competition.  Katherine squared off with local competition to advance and compete in the LIVE competition in Dallas..  After winning the first round of the final four tournament at NAFNext and advancing to the final two, she ended up as runner up.  Congratulations Katherine!! 

The plenary sessions were filled with engaging and motivating high-profile speakers including Sandy Weill, founder of NAF and CEO Emeritus from JP Morgan.  The highlight of the plenary dinner was paying tribute to Barb Converso, who was the first chairwomen of the WNY NAF Academy Advisory Board who received the  Advisory Board Champion Award.  At the final plenary luncheon, Clarence Academy of Business and Finance was recognized as one of NAF’s 40 distinguished academies which was paired with the Aldo Papone Award for Leadership in Academy Performance which recognizes excellence among NAF academies that are on the leading edge of high school reform.  The Academy will receive a $5,000 reward that the academy may elect to use for student scholarships, awards or program support.

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