Decatur Students Complete Financial Literacy Program

Decatur Students Complete Financial Literacy Program
Stephen Decatur High School Principal Tom Sites, Bank of Ocean City Vice President Earl Conley and teacher Kurt Marx are pictured with students who completed the EverFi program. Photo by Bethany Hooper

BERLIN – Several students at Stephen Decatur High School were recognized last week for completing a financial literacy program.

This fall, 35 students at Stephen Decatur High School completed the EverFi Financial Literacy program, a digital education tool that teaches students how to make wise financial decisions with interactive lessons.

The Bank of Ocean City sponsors the EverFi program as a way to teach students fiscal responsibility and fulfill the state’s standards on personal finance curriculum.

“Eight years ago, the Bank of Ocean City came to Decatur and said, ‘We believe that financial literacy is so important, we’re willing to pay for a program that would be interactive …,’ teacher Kurt Marx told his students. “It would not be possible for you guys to have the program if the Bank of Ocean City didn’t pay for it.”

Students in Marx’s class spent several hours both inside and outside the classroom completing online, interactive lessons designed to cover a variety of financial topics, including credit and debt, banking basics, budgeting and diversification.

Principal Tom Sites said the EverFi program was a valuable resource as the students – many of whom were juniors and seniors – prepare for life after high school.

“There are things I had no clue about when I was a student in high school, but I quickly learned,” he said. “Financial literacy is so important, and it’s going to help you so much when you get out into the real world.”

Bank of Ocean City Vice President Earl Conley said the financial literacy program is sponsored at several area schools, including Stephen Decatur High School, Stephen Decatur Middle School, Worcester Prep, Most Blessed Sacrament and Sussex Central High School, to name a few.

“People don’t really learn this stuff anymore,” Conley said. “In school there aren’t really any classes that go into the details of budgeting, planning for retirement and instilling in students the differences between needs and wants.”

Conley encouraged the students to make sound financial decisions using lessons learned from the EverFi program. He told them to invest wisely, plan for retirement and set aside savings.

“There’s so many things out there you will want and need,” he said. “Hopefully you understand you need to start itemizing tasks and setting a little bit of money aside for those rainy days.”

Junior Cole Woodland – who was recently named a regional champion in the Maryland Stock Market Game – said the financial literacy program taught him about the responsibilities of adulthood.

“It’s a good program to learn about what I’ll be dealing with later on in life …,” he said. “In school they don’t really teach you about things that deal with money or things that are business-related. But this course really prepares you for adult life.”

Freshman Amella Mehan said the EverFi program has prepared her to make financial decisions of her own.

“What I want to do is start a business, and getting a loan is going to be very important,” she said. “So knowing that information is going to be very helpful.”

Mehan added that she enjoyed the interactive program.

“We’ve never done anything like this in school,” she said. “It’s a good program. It taught me in a way that I was able to learn.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.