Rio Mesa students complete financial literacy program

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© Chuck Kirman /VC Star
Rio Mesa High School students pose for photographs Tuesday at the graduation ceremony for the Financial Literacy Advocates in Government program. © Chuck Kirman /VC Star

Eleven Rio Mesa High School students on Tuesday graduated from a course in financial literacy sponsored by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme.

They received certificates of completion from the unit’s commander and were taken on a guided tour of the warfare center.

Capt. William DeBow said the Financial Literacy Advocates in Government program offers instruction on financial literacy, including financial planning, budgeting, credit, career planning and the use of financial services.

The five-week course is taught by warfare center civilian employee volunteers at no cost to schools. The National Endowment for Financial Education provides course materials.

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

“You should be proud of what you’ve learned over the past five weeks. You know more about financial literacy than most adults. You’ve learned to build a sound, secure, prosperous future for you and your family.”

Senior Charles Rogers, 18, said both of his parents work at Naval Base Ventura County, but neither knew that commands there sponsored programs for local high schools.

“I was surprised to know the Navy was involved in this,” Rogers said.

Rogers said he intends to study culinary arts after graduation from Rio Mesa.

“Main courses,” he said. “I’m not a dessert guy.”

Senior Zuleyma Rivera, 17, said she learned a lot about financial responsibility from the program.g

“They taught me how to manage my money, pick a credit card carefully, make a budget for my prom dress and save for college,” she said. “When choosing a credit card, they told us to read everything carefully and choose one right for us.”

Rio Mesa economics teacher Scott Dunst said the program was a “great partnership” between the school and the Navy.

“It teaches them real-world economics, such as the pitfalls of credit cards,” Dunst said. “The volunteers come out to the school and teach the kids the things they need and have to know.

“The kids love it,” he added. “They eat it up.”

The warfare center is the Navy’s premier in-service engineering and logistics center. The command provides test and evaluation, in-service engineering and integrated logistics support for weapon and combat systems in the U.S. Navy fleet, U.S. Coast Guard fleet and several foreign navy fleets.

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