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MMI Preparatory School junior Joel Cruz received the Raymond G. Weber award during the Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW) program, which was held in July at Lycoming College in Williamsport. The program is presented by the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education.

The Raymond G. Weber award, which is rarely given at PFEW, is the only individual student award ever presented during the program. It is named after one of the founders of PFEW, whose passion and vision made the program what it is today. The award is presented to students who rise above extraordinary challenges, exhibit remarkable courage when faced with adversity and makes a profound impact on their teammates and all those around them.

Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW) is a unique summer program that offers incoming high school juniors and seniors an intensive and challenging opportunity to see what it is like to run their own business. Participants create an imaginary management team and learn first-hand about the American free enterprise system. The students develop their own marketing strategies for their businesses, design a website and make all the decisions that are demanded of real life company executives.

Joel Cruz PFEW awardThe program, which has enhanced the lives of more than 40,000 young adults for 38 years, brings motivated students together with business people from throughout the state. During PFEW, participants not only learn to appreciate the free enterprise system, but they also see from a practitioner's perspective what it takes to be successful in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. The student companies are mentored by dedicated business volunteers who serve as company advisers. These advisers share their knowledge and expertise and address the most significant issues facing business today in straightforward, informal discussions with the students.

Cruz, an MMI junior and the son of Nilsa Cruz of Hazleton, was nominated for the award by his company adviser, Kateryna Brezitska, a business/trading ops associate at MIAX Options Exchange. Brezitska said, “Joel’s strength was one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen.”

Stephanie Shandra, MMI college admissions counselor, said, “We are very proud of Joel for receiving such a rare and prestigious award during Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week. It was very gratifying to see our students who attended the program represent MMI at the state level. I've heard many wonderful things from the students about their time at the program this summer and know that this is another one of the many beneficial educational programs our students have the chance to participate in throughout the year.”


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