WASHS students learn about financial literacy

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Rotarian Alan Smith explains a JENGA answer during Financial Literacy Day. DAN DEDONA/FOR LOCAL.NEWS

WAYNESBORO—Helping students attain real-world exposure to finances was the goal of Financial Literacy Day at Waynesboro Area Senior High School.

Ninety-two WASHS seniors participated in the event sponsored by Rotary Club of Waynesboro.

The daylong event offered seniors practical exposure to budgets, savings, investments, insurance and many other staples of adulting. 

The club collaborated with the WASHS business department to arrange for rooms, prepare printed material and schedule students through six different activities. 

“Our high school contacts divide participating seniors into two groups” said Dan DeDona, activity lead for the Rotary Club.  “In the morning session, half go through a budget building course, while the other half participates in games designed to teach financial principals and thinking. These groups swap activities in the afternoon.”

Budget building got the largest amount of effort because it is something every adult needs to know how to do, DeDona explained. Students see how gross pay is reduced to take home by tax deductions and 401K tax decisions. Then they make choices about housing, utilities, transportation, food and other common expenses. 

Like real life, it doesn’t always end well.

“Some get to the end in the uncomfortable position of owing more than they make,” DeDona said. “Instructors show them how to make more affordable decisions to they can balance the books.” 

Game activities complemented budget lessons by going deeper. 

Greg Duffey of CSPandM, hosted a game of Insurance Jeopardy. 

Just like the TV show, student teams selected from six categories and five amounts to answer questions for points. “Whether right or wrong, we have a chance to talk about the reasons insurance is so helpful, whether for life, home auto or other purposes,” Duffey said. 

WASHS teachers Kegan Crider and Eneida Gjikuria are the club’s contacts in the school. “The same material comes across as more credible when prominent and successful people throughout the community offer insights on even simple things like shopping,” Crider said. 

Rotary Club volunteers from 17 local businesses, banks, investment advisors, design companies and others, gave a full day to offer their expertise and experience.

“One of the best signs we’re doing something good is when people find out what you’re doing and want to join in,” DeDona said. “Every student who is able to transition to the working world as an independent, financially-stable person becomes an asset to our community. That’s well worth a days’ work.”