Saints quarterback Drew Brees is guest at East St. John High

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 30, 2006


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – Seeing all-pro New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees roaming through the halls of East St. John High School sounds like an unlikely scenario, but even more surprising was Brees’ purpose for joining the students Tuesday morning.

Visa, an official sponsor of the NFL, has been teaming up with players in various cities to promote healthy financial starts to high school students through its interactive financial football game called Financial Football.  The game combines the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a team needs to answer questions correctly, moving downfield a few yards for each successful answer.

East St. John students were treated to a visit by Brees, who spoke briefly about how important it is to stay on track with paying bills, and what they should know to keep themselves from incurring large amounts of credit card debt. Afterwards, Brees led one half of the students in the library in a game of financial football against U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon who was also in attendance.

Jason Alderman a representative from Visa, was there to explain the useful aspects of the financial football game and how it implies to people of every age and income bracket.

&#8220Whether you have 50 bucks in your pocket, or $5 million in your bank account, you need to know not to manage it,” Alderman said. &#8220When you overlay those aspects with the financial football game, which is fun and educational, they really get worked up over it. It’s a lot of fun.”

So far, the 17-city tour has seen the likes of NFL great Jim Plunkett and former SuperBowl winning quarterback Trent Dilfer. Along with bringing Brees to speak to the students, Visa also donated more than $2,000 to ESJ to be used for school supplies.

&#8220Learning the fundamentals of money management at an early age gives young people a real advantage in meeting their own financial goals,” Brees said to a library full of students. &#8220Managing money and finances is a vital life skill, and one that is best taught, and learned, before high school graduation.

Brees himself admits that the financial classes he took in college have more than earned their dividends in allowing him to manage more money than he ever thought he would see.

&#8220I have people that help me, but I try to take an active role in it,” Brees said about managing his finances. &#8220I hate having to rely on other people, especially when it comes to that because you’re talking about your future.”

Brees said that having financial knowledge could be very helpful in all stages of life, as it has been for him. As a professional quarterback in the NFL, Brees said the difference in the money he had while still in college compared to what he makes now are like night and day. But it can be both a blessing, and a curse.

&#8220I find that a lot of guys go into the NFL unprepared for the amount of money they end up getting and then having to manage it,” Brees said. &#8220That’s why you see a lot of guys make bad decisions, because unfortunately it’s a lot of money thrown into their lap at one time and they think it’s gonna last forever, and it doesn’t.”