Crunching the numbers

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, April 15, 2014

By Monique Roth


GARYVILLE – From deciding on health care packages to choosing cable plans, eighth-grade students attending St. John the Baptist Parish public schools got hands-on training in finances and budget planning this week as the district hosted Finance Park.

Finance Park, a collaborative effort between Junior Achievement and Capital One Bank, schooled students on the ins and outs of financial budgets using real-life situations.

Debbie Suffrin, who works with Junior Achievement, said each participating student is given a life situation that includes annual salary, marital status and dependent children to care for and are asked to create a budget and live within their means. The students budget for things such as clothing, dining out, transportation, education and groceries.

The goal of Finance Park is to teach students that personal financial skills are invaluable and will assist them in the future to spend wisely and save responsibly.

Angie Pelt, a social studies teacher at LaPlace Elementary, said the students who are participating in Finance Park have been learning lessons and filling out a workbook about budgeting and finance in school in preparation for the event.

Pelt said that the detailed planning about finances is important to these students who are now planning out their high school schedules. She explained that as students learn more about salaries and bills, it will help them to plan what they may want to go to college for and what schedules they should be making for high school.

Serenity LaGrange and Kyla Brumfield, both eighth-graders at LaPlace Elementary, said the experience has been fun and educational.

“It’s definitely beneficial to the future,” said LaGrange.

Brumfield said the Finance Park experience showed her how much responsibility it takes to budget and plan out monthly expenses.

The public is invited to witness Capital One/Junior Achievement’s Finance Park in action at an open house to be held tomorrow, April 17, from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School, 240 Louisiana Highway 54.