19 Rio Mesa students graduate from FLAG

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© Esthela McKenzie/NSWC PHD
Rio Mesa High School economics teacher Scott Dunst, left, and students in the FLAG program pose on the bow of the Self Defense Test Ship just before receiving a congratulatory tour of the ship on March 29. © Esthela McKenzie/NSWC PHD
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) celebrated the graduation of 19 Rio Mesa High School students from its Financial Literacy Advocates in Government (FLAG) program during a ceremony held at Naval Base Ventura County on March 29.

Taught by NSWC PHD employees, the FLAG program requires students to complete a five-week course on financial literacy, including financial planning, budgeting, credit, career planning and the use of financial services. PHD Commander Capt. William DeBow spoke at the graduation about recognizing the importance of being financially savvy.

“Your future success requires the ability to manage money and credit responsibly,” said DeBow. “You should be proud of what you have accomplished. This knowledge will serve you well over the years, whether you’re working in short-term jobs or throughout your chosen careers.”

Students were able to participate in the program through Rio Mesa High School’s economics course. The FLAG program was offered at no cost to the high school.

Brandon Will, a PHD engineer and volunteer FLAG instructor, remembers learning about finance through experience and “taking unnecessary risks.”

“It doesn’t have to be that way for today’s kids,” he said. “These students are knocking on the door of independence and very soon will be making financial decisions that will affect their future. FLAG provides an unparalleled opportunity to educate high school students about the importance of career and financial planning. We need our children to be financially savvy and fiscally fit to survive in our consumer-driven society.”

To commemorate the occasion, graduates received certificates of recognition and were given tours of the command’s remote-controlled Self Defense Test Ship and Surface Warfare Engineering Facility, a controlled laboratory for evaluating Navy ships’ combat weapons systems.

“Given our current economic environment, it is more important than ever to educate our youth on being financially literate and responsible,” said DeBow. “It is particularly satisfying to know that we are enabling them to become productive future leaders of our community and outstanding representatives of our country.”

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