Students in the Centennial School District are a little more savvy about spending than they were a few months ago, thanks to the Future Business Leaders of America chapter at Centennial High School.
In January, the FBLA chapter teamed up with Operation HOPE and Financial Beginnings, two nonprofit organizations that work together to promote personal financial literacy.
Several FBLA members were trained to become official Operation HOPE volunteers and then spent several weeks in January, February and March educating about 200 elementary and middle school students in the district about budgeting, investing, credit and banking.
FBLA members also have arranged for the Operation HOPE-Financial Beginnings business volunteers to come in and speak to the math, economics and business classes at the high school.
One of the FBLA presenters was Christine Kang, 17, a senior who worked with eighth-graders at Centennial Middle School.
'It was a really, really exciting experience and really fun,' she says, adding she and the students practiced filling out checks and working on credit card applications.
'They definitely seemed really, really interested in investing,' she adds. 'They seemed interested in the idea that you put money and get money out.'
Shelby Halverson, 17, a senior and vice president of the FBLA chapter, taught children at Centennial Middle School as well as Pleasant Valley Elementary.
Students were interested in credit and debit cards as well as how to prepare financially for college.
'They were asking about scholarships and how different colleges work and pretty much the whole process,' she says.
Vanessa Matsakoun, 18, a senior, taught sixth-graders at Lynch View Elementary and eighth-graders at Centennial Middle School.
'I enjoyed seeing how interested they were and how they were connecting with us,' she says. 'They asked us a lot of questions about loans and how you pay it off.'
Centennial district teachers responded with positive comments about the enthusiasm of the high school educators.
'They were extremely professional, on time and very eager to teach,' says Centennial Middle School teacher Shane Fisher.
'The presentations were very educational, and students seemed to love the activities they implemented, an overall very enjoyable experience,' adds Eric Perkins, who teaches fifth grade at Lynch Meadows.
Adriann Hardin, the Centennial High FBLA adviser, notes she is proud of her students.
'Not only have they learned financial literacy concepts, they have learned teamwork, organization, scheduling and time management,' she says. 'Not to mention I think a few of them might have caught the teaching bug.'
On that note, Halverson says she likes the whole idea of sharing knowledge with the youngsters.
'It's a really good feeling teaching someone and helping them get a real interest in it,' she says.
n For more information on the FBLA at Centennial High, call Adriann Hardin at 503-762-6180 or write adriann_hardin
n For more information on Operation HOPE in Portland, visit operationhope.org/city-location/lid/22.
n For more information on Financial Beginnings, visit financial