Several West students deemed 'financially literate'

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On Monday April 30, students at Cranston High School West were recognized for having taken the EverFi financial literacy course, an online financial literacy curriculum that includes lessons in banking, credit, loans, and investing.

Rhode Island’s treasurer Seth Magaziner was joined at CHSW by EverFi’s Bria Barker and Dan Weidmann, Pawtucket Credit Union’s George Charette, and several of his colleagues who have partnered with EverFi and Cranston schools to sponsor the program.

Additionally, Superintendent Jeannine Nota, Principal Tom Barbieri, CACTC Director Zachary Farrell, and CHSW/CACTC faculty members Lenora Manna, Jessica Palumbo and Richard Abruzzini were all present to celebrate the achievements of the students, who are among approximately 1,000 students at Cranston West who have taken the EverFi financial literacy course over the past three years. Students at all three city high schools have participated in the course on their paths to graduation.

Principal Barbieri was proud to remind his students that having a strong financial literacy background is a step in preparing them for the world beyond the school doors, and of having a well-rounded high school education. “When you walk out of Cranston West, you will have an academic background, you will have participated in community service, but the other piece of the pie for a Falcon here in this school is to be financially responsible,” he said. “So when you walk out of this school and you get your graduation certificate, this is part of you, and that’s what this all means.”

Magaziner also spoke to the students about the benefits of becoming financially literate.

“Financial education is incredibly important, and not every school in Rhode Island has a program, has EverFi, and has so many young people participating in it,” Magaziner said. “This is going to serve you well. Maybe it has already started for some of you, but very soon you are going to be getting pitched all kinds of credit products. Credit card companies are going to try to get you to open a credit card account. You’ll have to figure out if you’re going to go to college and how to pay for student loans or if you’re going to get a car, how you’re going to pay for that car. There’s going to be people pitching you all different kinds of auto loans. You’re going to have to start making financial decisions really, really soon that are going to have a big impact on you for years to come.” He explained that some of the things he mentioned can be good and could help the students, but that others will try to take advantage of the students and might sound good, but might have high rates and fees might set them back.

“Being able to tell the difference between the financial services that will help you and those that won’t, is really important,” he said. “Some of you will have to make those types of decisions in the next couple of years.”

Magaziner emphasized that it’s also important to know where to go when there’s a question, where to find the right answers if they’re uncertain.

“I’m the state treasurer, and I still don’t always know everything,” he said. “Having the connections with teachers, parents, adults, others, even your own classmates so that you can ask questions, ask advice so we can navigate this whole financial thing together is important. The great thing about EverFi is that not only does it teach you some facts, but it actually teaches you the vocabulary and the terminology so you can have these conversations and figure it out together.”

Magaziner thanked Pawtucket Credit Union for their partnership with the Cranston Public Schools and for sponsoring the EverFi program.

He introduced Charette, who congratulated the students for completing the program, and he thanked the teachers for their participation.

“Pawtucket Credit Union sponsored this year’s EverFi program as we have for the past several years, and we are proud to be able to help the 812 students who participated in the program this year. In total those 812 students put in 2900 into the program, and I’m sure that going through all those modules you learned a lot,” he said. “General Treasurer Magaziner talked about being an informed consumer, and that’s what this program is all about. Financial literacy is an important life skill. Regardless of the financial capabilities of our parents, the reality is we don’t talk to our kids about financial literacy, how to balance a checkbook or get a credit card or a car.”

He explained that the EverFi topics come in nine modules: savings and banking, credit cards, interest rates, credit scores, financing higher education, renting versus owning, taxes and insurance, consumer protection, investing.

“These are all topics that you will all use some day,” he said. “Many times as adults we are left to figure these things out by ourselves. Hopefully the groundwork that was set will help you out going forward. We as an institution hope that going forward, you will make sound financial decisions throughout your lives for both yourselves and your families.”

The students participated in an interactive quiz, which gave an overview of the topics covered. They were asked to read the question shown on the overhead screen and then hold up a true or false sign to say whether the information was correct or not.

At the end of the event, each student received a Rhode Island Financial Scholar certificate as well as a citation from Magaziner.

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