Southside High to participate in SECU finance workshop

Published 6:51 pm Friday, August 28, 2015

Southside High School is partnering with the North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Union to provide a one-day simulation workshop on Sept. 10 entitled “The Reality of Money” for two of the school’s personal finance classes.

Jaime Conner, financial services manager at SECU, said some schools in Pitt County have already participated in the workshop, and after hearing requests from Beaufort County residents, the company decided to expand its simulation.

She said students are given a profile detailing what their profession, education and family situation is for the activity. Professions can range from mechanics to pharmacists, and education levels can range from a high school diploma to a four-year degree.

Over the course of the workshop, each participant has to determine how he will support his family and afford expenses such as a home, transportation, clothing, cellphone bill and food, while also navigating around simulated financial setbacks or problems, Conner said.

“The idea is to let them know what their parents go through,” she said. “Just to give them a reality check.”

Southside High Principal Dale Cole said in an email that he thinks it’s important for high school students to learn how to manage finances before they graduate.

He said Southside High requires students to take a personal finance class, even though it is not mandated by the state.

“As a school we are always looking for ways to partner with the businesses in our community. We believe this better prepares our students while building solid school-to-job pipelines for our kids,” Cole said in the email.

Kathy Clark, one of the personal finance teachers at Southside, said she was approached by SECU to have the workshop, and it will fit well into the curriculum as her personal finance classes explore cost of living and ways to manage money.

According to a syllabus for the class supplied by Clark, it “prepares students to understand economic activities and challenges of individuals and families, the role of lifestyle goals in education and career choices, procedures in a successful job search, financial forms used in independent living and shopping options and practices for meeting consumer needs.”

“It’s really enlightening to the kids. … I’m like, ‘You need to be appreciative,’” she said, adding that some families in Beaufort County are reliant on government assistance. “It’s interesting as a teacher to see the dynamics.”

Conner said SECU funds the workshop, and she hopes it will prepare the students for challenges they may face in the future.

“It’s a program that we want to eventually expand to all counties,” she said.