Seniors at Gainesville High School diverted from their regular academic schedule Wednesday morning to learn lessons in financial responsibility.
The school’s interim principal, LaCrisia Larkin, explained that administrators wanted something for the seniors to participate in while the rest of the school was testing.
The answer was JA in a Day: Personal Finance, a presentation by the nonprofit organization Junior Achievement.
“The freshmen are doing GA411, the sophomores are taking the PSAT and the juniors the ASVAB,” Larkin said. “We wanted something for our seniors, too.”
The event featured representatives from local businesses who addressed topics such as credit choices, saving and the power of compound interest, how to create a budget, planning to earn and how to be a savvy consumer.
“This is a great opportunity for students to learn valuable skills that they will need as they graduate from high school and begin to make their way in the real world. These are life skills that everyone needs,” said Lee Highsmith, director of the Northeast District of Junior Achievement of Georgia.
Among local businesses represented, Bev Hart of Beverly Hart Consulting Inc. and RichLife Advisors made sure students left her session knowing “credit isn’t bad; it’s a tool.”
Once having worked for creditors targeting the young adult demographic, Hart now works to educate that generation on making good credit choices.
“I have a passion for young kids and keeping them from going down the wrong path,” she said. “I told them to charge within your budget and pay it back in full. My mission is to help those who need help before they even know they need it.”
Senior Elizabeth Leneski, 17, was particularly struck by the session on the importance of saving money early.
“Honestly, I’ve never really been told any of this before, so it’s been really beneficial for me,” Leneski said.
Classmate Kayla Quigley agreed.
“I learned a lot about what not to do and what to do after graduating and that I need to save money and make plans now,” Quigley said.
“This will help me once I graduate.”