Hopedale High Students Flex Their Financial Muscles
On Friday, December 9th, the Hopedale Junior-Senior High School held its eighth annual financial literacy fair, the FinFit Fair, for junior and senior students. Organized by three seniors—Ryan Hayes, Vinny Kaushik, and Ahaan Singh (pictured)—under the guidance of Hopedale business teacher Talitha Oliveri, the fair simulated participants’ lives at age 25. Students faced the financial choices they will have to make at that age, from student loans to rent payments, all the while competing to see who could be the most financially fit.
Booths representing the various financial decisions students could make lined the venue, ranging from transportation to investing to lifestyle and leisure. Participants were tasked with making financially-responsible decisions while not neglecting their mental health. Quality-of-Life points were tied to each item at a booth, with higher Quality-of-Life numbers for decisions that positively impacted their mental well-being.
Students were assigned jobs and credit scores based on the results of a pre-fair survey, noting their interests in various fields and evaluating their current level of financial fitness. Jobs were determined based on these passions, allowing participants to use their respective entry-level salary to budget monthly expenses for real financial decisions they will make in the future. During school, training sessions for the fair were held to familiarize students with the concept of the fair and the newly-developed app.
The FinFit team applied for and received a $2,500 Financial Education Fair grant from the Massachusetts Office of State Treasurer and Receiver General. This money was used to purchase supplies and overhaul fair branding and theme with the addition of new signage and booths.
Students competed in their respective grade levels to see who could gain the most Quality-of-Life points with respect to salary, while remaining fiscally responsible. Additional factors included maintaining a positive checking account balance along with a credit utlization rate under 30%. Juniors Cody McLain, Kyle Maloney, and Matt Carroll did exceptionally well, with Cody winning the Junior fair! For Seniors, Taralyn Moore placed first, with Tyler Wilke and Tom McSweeney coming in as runner-ups respectively.
“There is nothing better than students teaching other students. And when students are teaching peers about financial literacy, there may actually be an impact for the rest of their lives,” said Hopedale Superintendent Karen Crebase. “The work that our students have done on the financial literacy fair has positively impacted our juniors, our seniors, and all the other students that they’ve gone back to work with.”
The team would like to thank fair sponsors UniBank, Rockland Trust, American Student Assistance, the Worcester District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts Office of State Treasurer and Receiver General, and the Hopedale Parent-Teacher Organization! Keynote speakers provided fantastic, engaging advice to juniors and seniors. This year, the team would like to recognize our remarkable speakers: Hopedale Superintendent Karen Crebase, District Communications Director for Senator Fattman Kylie Gibbons, Representative Brian Murray, District Attorney Joe Early Jr, and Hopedale business teacher Talitha Oliveri! Additionally, they’d like to specifically thank Talitha Oliveri for her incredible efforts to help organize the fair—it simply wouldn’t be possible without her.