Money Matters: Hudsonville teaches students financial life lessons - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Money Matters: Hudsonville teaches students financial life lessons

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Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 10:00 pm

Even the littlest Hudson Elementary students took part in big life lessons Tuesday during the school’s 14th Annual Hudsonville Minitropolis Program. The initiative combines classroom learning, field trips and a rewards system to teach students about financial literacy.

A group of 5th graders set up and ran their own H-E-B store in the library, where students bought school supplies and toys with Cody Bucks they began earning when school started.

“I’m a firm believer in character education. These are the soft skills they need to be successful” like hard work and dedication, Principal Rachel Ayala said. “If we can plant that seed, it’ll come in later in life.”

In addition to financial literacy, she said, students learn about the components that make up a functioning community. They visit IBC Bank to hear what it takes to be a bank manager, vice president and teller, along with the importance of savings and credit. Their trip to H-E-B is a lesson in being a store manager, running a department and inventory.

Ayala said the Hudsonville Minitropolis Program introduces financial literacy concepts that students might not learn at home, and they can even share the information with their parents.

Students earn Cody Bucks for the A Honor Roll, A/B Honor Roll, attendance, reading goals, exemplifying good character and parental involvement. They must choose how to spend their money and whether it would be better to save for the second Hudsonville event during the spring semester.

IBC Bank President and CEO Al Villarreal said students need to be introduced not only to saving and budgeting their money but planning for the future.

“This initiative started because there was a big gap in financial literacy,” he said. “This is a wonderful example of public-private partnership. It’s like a civics course. They’re learning about government and responsibility, leadership.”

Angel Ybarra, assistant store manager of the H-E-B on FM 802 and Paredes Line Road, said it was his first year taking part in the Hudsonville program. He said it was an opportunity for students to learn how to take care of their money.

“If you think about it, when we were growing up, we never had this. At least I didn’t,” he said.

Another component of the program is media literacy via the Coyote News Network that is broadcast in classrooms each morning, Ayala said, wherein 5th graders give the announcements, interview students and profile a university each week. She also invites elected officials like Brownsville City Commissioner Joel Munguia and Congressman Filemon Vela to speak to students about government.

nadia@brownsvilleherald.com

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