Bridgeport Middle School Students Get Taste of Finance Education Thanks to Unique Program

By Trina Runner on February 12, 2018 via

One Bridgeport Middle School classroom had the opportunity to learn about financial planning, thanks to two students from Bridgeport High School.  Madelyn Lalama and Jake Runner launched a program called, “Save Now, Earn Later,” which they created to educate middle school students about saving, investing and managing money.
“As part of our DECA Financial Literacy Promotion Project, we decided to focus on middle school students,” said Lalama.  “With compound interest, the earlier they start thinking about financial planning, the more money they will have when they retire.”
The duo worked with Bridgeport Middle School teacher Kenny Edwards to organized the best time to present to his eighth grade AA class.  With the exception of a few snow days, they led the class through the program each week in December and finished in January.
“They incorporated a ton of fun activities with the students and really kept their interest and involvement,” Edwards said. “Once they left, I actually found the students asking me questions regarding finance and economics and I was able to have some good discussions with them as well.”
Lalama and Runner started the program with a pre-test to determine what the students already knew about finance.  They used trivia, games, and hands-on activities in order to demonstrate the basics of budgeting, investing and saving.  The students not only demonstrated improved knowledge in the post-tests, but seemed genuinely interested in learning about the topics.
“They had a lot of questions and we tried to make finance relevant to their age,” said Runner.  “They learned to make realistic choices in order to have a better financial future and they will be better prepared for taking finance in high school and college.”
The finance project, including curriculum and tests results, will be entered into the West Virginia DECA Competitive Events in March.  Lalama and Runner will present it in order to qualify for the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, GA in April.
“We would love to expand the program for middle schoolers and be able to include more classes in the future,” said Lalama.  “We have even discussed having the high school and middle school students collaborate on economics and financial activities.”
Edwards is excited about the possibility of working with the DECA students as well. 
“I think this was a fantastic opportunity to really reach out and educate and I would love to see it go even further,” he said.  “Maddie and Jake did a great job with the students and I am glad to see them address finance and economics early on and to connect it to real world events.”

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