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Junior Achievement Student from Belmont Wins Trip to Rose Parade® to Help Decorate The UPS Store Float

Charlotte, N.C. – Zachary McCarter, a Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas student from Belmont is one of two Junior Achievement (JA) students from across the United States selected to help decorate The UPS Store float at this year’s Rose Parade®. During November, JA students had the opportunity to submit a video about their JA experience for a chance to win a trip to Pasadena, California, to attend the Rose Parade® on New Year’s Day, 2024, as guests of Junior Achievement and The UPS Store, and to help decorate The UPS Store and JA-themed float, “The Beat of Achievement!”

“I’m so thankful to Junior Achievement and UPS for making this dream a reality for me and my family. I remember coming home from my field trip [to Junior Achievement] and being so pumped to tell my parents about how cool it is to learn about managing money,” commented Zac. “And, when I heard about the opportunity to make a video about what I learned at Junior Achievement for a chance to win a trip to the Rose Bowl, it was a no brainer.”“It’s always great to hear directly from our students about how the Junior Achievement experience impacts them personally,” said Dorothy Gorman, President/CEO at Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas. Gorman expressed gratitude for partners like The UPS Store, emphasizing their significant contributions in offering exceptional opportunities for students and demonstrating a deep-rooted commitment to advancing economic mobility.

After winning the “most beautiful float entry” award for three consecutive years, The UPS Store®, Inc., returns for the sixth time to participate in the 135th Rose Parade® presented by Honda on January 1, 2024, in Pasadena, California. The UPS Store, Inc., will debut its artistic float, “The Beat of Achievement,” in line with the 2024 Rose Parade musical theme, “Celebrating a World of Music: The Universal Language.” The float will highlight the company’s Start Small, Grow Big program with Junior Achievement USA® in support of the next generation of entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Since its inception in August 2022, the Start Small, Grow Big program celebrates surpassing $3.6 million in customer donations across The UPS Store® network of 5,100+ locations that help fund work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy learning experiences for school-aged children involved in Junior Achievement chapters in the United States.

The UPS Store 2024 Rose Parade float highlights the accomplishments of young, aspiring business leaders from Junior Achievement. The spectacular entry features an animated 35-foot-tall crocodile rapping his way through Pasadena to “The Beat of Achievement.” As the croc’s hip-hop career takes off, a posse of pink flamingos cheers him on. A vibrant puffer vest decorated with custom-grown marigolds complements the croc’s scaly green complexion. The surrounding tropical paradise overflows with tens of thousands of Pink Floyd roses, and a dazzling display of orchids, bromeliads, anthurium and heliconia. The UPS Store integrates one-of-a-kind design, gorgeous floral presentation, and hi-tech animation for the ultimate wow factor.

The float was designed by Charles Meier and will be built by Fiesta Parade Floats. "I’m so grateful to work with The UPS Store to bring their dynamic vision to life. This float showcases the importance of passing on entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy to today’s youth,” said Meier. “It communicates in a way that is fresh and fun for everyone. A hip-hop crocodile is a perfect example of how The UPS Store expresses imagination and their commitment to offering the very best.”

About The UPS Store

With more than 5,100 locations across North America, The UPS Store network comprises the nation's largest franchise system of retail shipping, postal, print, and business service centers. The UPS Store centers are independently owned and operated by licensed franchisees of The UPS Store, Inc., an indirect subsidiary of United Parcel Service, Inc., a Delaware corporation (although one or more may be company-owned). Services, prices, and hours of operation are subject to change and may vary by location. For additional information about The UPS Store, visit Follow The UPS Store on social media at @TheUPSStore,, and

About Junior Achievement USA® (JA)

Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA learning experiences are delivered by corporate and community volunteers and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Additionally, Junior Achievement is expanding its reach to 18-to-25-year-olds to provide young adults with critical life skills, as well as to pre-K youth to ensure children get a solid head start. Today, JA reaches more than 4.4 million students per year in 102 markets across the United States as part of 12.5 million students served by operations in more than 100 other countries worldwide. Junior Achievement USA is a member of JA Worldwide. For more information, visit

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Cord Bailey


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