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Kearns • Elementary students rarely think about banking, paying bills or other financial responsibilities their parents deal with every day.
Thanks to Junior Achievement of Utah, students at Oquirrh Hills Elementary in Kearns took a break from their regular curriculum last month to learn a little about what it takes to live life as an adult.
Junior Achievement usually works with parent volunteers, but Oquirrh Hills Principal Karen Marberger was pleased that United Way and Discover Card employees were able to come spend time with the students.
"The focus is on financial and economic lessons to help students gain a better understanding of some of those issues," Marberger said. "I was in a class earlier that talks about wants and needs when it comes to finances."
Marberger also praised the structuring of the lessons that teach all grades differently so the students have a chance to understand a little about how the adult world works.
Students in the sixth-grade class of Becky Te'o had the opportunity to learn about the trade market in the United States and the global marketplace, taught by volunteers from Discover Card.
"The kids really pay attention because it is a different lesson for them, just a lot of new information," said Brett Bryson, a team leader at Discover Card.
As a sixth-grade teacher at Oquirrh Hills, Te'o likes that her students get to see people from the community who are working and taking time to teach lessons to them.
"The lessons are grade-appropriate, so I hope they continue to come teach each year so the kids can build on each lesson learned," Te'o said.
Petra Nguyen and Makayla Privett, both sixth-grade students in Te'o's class, said they have discovered new ideas about the world around them during Junior Achievement.
"I have learned a lot about how we treat other countries," Petra said.
Across the hall in Sherri Hackett's third-grade class, the younger students are getting a lesson more tailored to their needs and abilities. Hackett said her students are learning about the banking system and money, and that will tie into later lessons she will teach the students.
"These Junior Achievement lessons are great because I feel that it enriches their understanding of their normal curriculum as well," Hackett said. "Right now they are learning about checking accounts, debit cards and money, and that will help me as a teacher to have something to reference to later."
Third-grade student Alyssa Nelson was able to learn about how newspapers were made and even wrote a small story about herself wanting to be a gymnast during the exercise.
Principal Marberger was just appreciative of all the volunteers from Discover Card and the help of United Way for the time they put in with the students of Oquirrh Hills.
"It really is a great program for our students and that we have the opportunity to do it," Marberger said.