Schools team with First Federal to teach financial skills
Rufus — whom some students have nicknamed “Rufus the Doofus” — is a character in an online financial literacy program, EverFi, that First Federal is providing for students in Mac High’s College and Career Readiness class.
Since Rufus didn’t have a chance to take the class himself, he’s stumbling through life making poor financial choices, Willms and Holdredge said. As they go through the nine-model program helping Rufus, students learn the skills they’ll need to make better decisions themselves when they use credit, invest money, apply for a mortgage or consider renting versus buying something outright.
“This tells you the things you need to know,” Holdredge said.
Willms said she learned many new financial terms as she worked her way through the lessons. She’s sure she will use what she’s learned — when she buys a house someday, for instance.
The students will use the information sooner than they realize, said Michelle Buczynski, who teaches the Mac High course that includes EverFi.
“The part about interest rates, credit cards and credit scores ... that’s really valuable, especially since our seniors are going to be hit with credit card offers as soon as they turn 18,” she said.
Students start the online course by taking a pretest that measures what they already know about financial matters. At the end they take a post test. If they score high enough, they receive a certificate.
In addition, Buczynski said, First Federal gives a gift to each student who earns the certificate: $25 if they open or already have a First Federal savings account. She said 91 of her students have qualified so far.
“That’s pretty generous on (the bank’s) part,” the teacher said.
In addition to Mac High, high schools in Amity, Sheridan, Yamhill-Carlton and Newberg are using EverFi, thanks to funding from First Federal. The bank wants to expand it to other high schools in the county, said Pam Watts, community relations coordinator.
Marshall “Rocky” Wade, president and CEO of the bank, said his company partnered with EverFi as part of its effort to prepare students for a secure future.
“It’s our goal to produce students who are ready to transition into the adult world as responsible citizens,” he said. “They need financial literacy skills so they can handle their money in a responsible manner.”
First Federal also is providing an EverFi program with a different focus at Duniway and Patton middle schools in McMinnville.
“Ignition – Digital Literacy & Responsibility,” is a four-hour curriculum for grades six through eight. Watts said it teaches students about their digital footprint, secure identity, cyber bullying, good texting practices, online research, digital time management and creating multimedia products.