RPA hosts Financial Literacy Freshman Seminar

Math Instructor Cassie Henry helping freshmen students plan on their app and make purchasing options.

RPA Freshman Seminar instructors Mark Speck, Sandy Cloud and Laurel Eberhart, planned and hosted a recent Freshman Seminar event centered around teaching financial literacy.

The Freshman Seminar course provides all freshmen extra support and guidance during their first year of high school and creates applicable learning opportunities to build their student skills, explore future planning concepts, and to develop their high school plan.

Collaborating with MidOregon Credit Union’s Bite of Reality program, staff and community members, RPA was able to provide a unique opportunity that allowed students to practice real life financial literacy skills. The Bite of Reality program used an app simulation to allow students to explore the basics of making financial life decisions and to witness the impact their decisions and life events have on personal finance and budgeting. When students logged into the app, they were given a sample life to simulate, including a career and salary, base savings, family sizes and various financial decisions to explore.

“The simulation was really fun. We got to move around to different stations and interact with all different types of people, said freshman Glenn Hernandez. “I realized that money can disappear really quickly and I need to think about how and when I should use it. Like a budget.”

RPA Accounting and HR Specialist Qristy Kurtz and community members volunteering as salespeople as freshmen go through the simulation.

Volunteers worked at tables representing spending areas, like transportation, entertainment, childcare, etc. Students move from table to table making purchase choices, and the job of the volunteer is to share the purchase options and encourage students to choose higher cost options. When students overcommit, they learn that even with a solid income, they can’t afford everything and have to make hard choices. They received their advice from the Credit Union table, which allows students to speak to MidOregon Credit Union staff members to discuss their decisions and options.

Volunteers included RPA teachers and staff members, MidOregon staff members, and a variety of community members.

“Personal finance is one of the most important competencies a high school graduate can have,” said Speck. “I appreciate that RPA provides opportunities for students to build these skills during their high school career. From simulations like Bite of Reality, to advanced college credit Personal Finance courses offered on the RPA campus.”

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