Today is Junior Achievement Day in the District, by proclamation of Mayor Marion Barry, and residents are invited to attend a ceremony tonight honoring many of the city's youthful achievers and citizens who have been an inspiration to the young entrepreneurs.

The Junior Achievement program, which began here in 1968, allows high school students to gain experience in operating small businesses. Currently 600 D.C. students from Cardozo, Coolidge, Dunbar, Roosevelt, Wilson, Ballous, McKinley, Anacostia and Eastern public high schools, Burdick, Bell, Chamberlain and Martha Washington Career Development centers and Immaculate Conception Academy, Regina Makin and Gonzaga non-public high schools are running their "own" businesses.

Tonight's awards ceremony will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Zion Baptist Church, 4850 Blagden Ave. NW.

Distinguished Achievement Awards for 1980 will be presented to Dr. Jack White, director of the Cancer Center at Howard University; the Rev. Carlton W. Veazey, pastor of Zion Baptist Church; Albert P. Russo, former director of the D.C. Department of Human Resources; Floretta D. McKenzie, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of School Improvement, U.S. Department of Education; James Bud Ward, vice president of organization development of the Marriott Corporation, John Thompson, coach of the Georgetown Hoyas basketball team, and Dorothy Porter Wesley, formerly curator of the art collections in the Mooreland-Spingarn Museum at Howard University.