Students gain financial yardage

Published 8:08 pm Monday, July 25, 2016


Devyn Drone, 11, purchases items with her BayPort Bucks from the BayPort Credit Union gift table.

Devyn Drone, 11, purchases items with her BayPort Bucks from the BayPort Credit Union gift table.

At John F. Kennedy Middle School on Thursday, the Portsmouth Boys and Girls Club was looking to defend its “financial football” title against the Suffolk club.

Since last year, students from both clubs have competed against each to test their financial literacy.

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In 2010, BayPort Credit Union began partnering with the Suffolk club to teach its students about financial concepts and responsibility.

“You just don’t get that in school,” said Stan Leicester, senior vice president and chief financial officer of the credit union.

During the course of week, BayPort representatives taught students about saving, investing, debit and credit cards and other financial concepts.

The program concluded with the “Financial Super Bowl,” which would test the financial literary of both teams through an online football video game.

The game had students answer questions derived from the week’s lessons. If a team answered correctly, this led to a successful play. Teams could choose between easier or harder questions, with the harder ones earning them more yards on the field.

Suffolk gave a valiant effort, but Portsmouth pulled away and repeated as champions, winning 18-0.

Students take a pre-test at the beginning of the program and a post-test at the end.

Monte Crowl, BayPort’s marketing vice president, said test scores have always increased dramatically at the conclusion of the program.

It shows that actual learning is taking place, he said.

Finance typically isn’t the most intriguing topic for children. But BayPort credits the program’s success to its student engagement.

“We don’t want to force anything, but to have fun,” said BayPort marketing coordinator Rachel Milter, who served as one of the program’s teachers.

Students received BayPort Bucks throughout the week for participating in activities. They could decide to either to purchase small items throughout the week or to wait until the day of the football game for a larger variety.

This taught students valuable lessons about financial responsibility.

“You have to save your money to be successful,” said Caleiyah Cheeks, 11, a student from the Suffolk club.

Students who hadn’t saved their money looked on in disappointment as they watched their peers purchase toys and candy.

Through the years, the community has rallied behind the program. This year, the program was offered at five summer camps.

“I dream to have this program offered at schools and clubs all over Hampton Roads,” Leicester said.