Bowmar students learn from local banking experts

Published 11:43 am Friday, November 18, 2016

Local students had a chance to learn important life skills on financial literacy with special guests in the classroom.

Dana Tankersley’s sixth grade GATES class at Bowmar Elementary School was one of over 600 classrooms in Mississippi to receive a visit from local bankers for the “A Banker in Every Classroom” project, which is in its sixth year sponsored by the Mississippi Bankers Association.

“We’re trying to teach them life skills for the future,” Tankersely said.

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Trustmark National Bank employees Tyler McNeal and Ryan Lee took time out of their schedule to visit Tankersley’s class and give the students a lesson on financial literacy. Through an activity, the bankers taught the students about budgeting their money — a life skill McNeal said is vital for students to learn.

“It’s important for students to learn about saving and budgeting because that’s what is going to allow them to be able to succeed in the real world. Those are things they are going to be faced with,” McNeal said. “Once they get out of college, high school, wherever it may be, they’ll have to learn how to save and budget because those things do happen. Its real world situations.”

The game the class played is called the Bean Game where students were given 25 pennies each and told to make cost of living choices from a list of different types of housing, transportation, food, utilities, clothing and recreation to pay for with their salary.

“The kids had choices they could make,” Tankersley said, calling it a balance of wants and needs. “They were trying to work with the kids on seeing how much (money) is left over. If you make these choices, what will you have to choose in other areas?”

As an example, Tankersley said for transportation students had the option to walk, bike, take public transportation or buy a used or new car with their money. Once that expense was taken out of their collection of pennies, students addressed the other bills they would need to pay.

“If you buy a brand new car you may have to cut back in some of those other areas,” Tankersley said. “It was very interactive.”

Lee even added an unexpected bill where students had to budget in a vehicle repair they weren’t planning on having to pay, which Tankersley said taught the students about the importance of having savings and not spending all their money.

She said some students tried to pick all the cheapest options, but McNeal gave them some perspective by having them think about the practicality of walking to work every day in Vicksburg and how difficult it could be depending on where they live and where they work.

“It was a very real, applicable lesson for the students,” she said.

McNeal said the students were surprised to see how their money didn’t necessarily go very far when all expenses are taken into account.

McNeal and Lee weren’t the only Trustmark employees to visit local classrooms during “A Banker in Every Classroom” week. Katie Ferrell spoke to Helen Ashley’s fourth grade class at Sherman Avenue Elementary School and also to Kristy Ehrgott’s third grade class at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School. Debora Kinnebrew spoke in two sixth grade classes at Beechwood Elementary.