Thursday, December 13, 2018

Lingerfeldt students learn financial responsibility

By Eric Wildstein
December 13, 2018

Twenty-four volunteers spent their day teaching young students about financial literacy.

Lingerfeldt Elementary School in Gastonia hosted its third annual Junior Achievement Day on last week. Kids from kindergarten through fifth grade learned everything from how to save money to how debit and credit cards work, and how interest is compounded.

Lessons were tailored to the unique grade levels, and instruction was led by volunteers largely from Tabernacle Baptist Church and the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services.

Karen Creech is a congregation member of the church, who also works for the health department’s day care center for adults. She’s been an instructor at the school’s Junior Achievement Day program for the past three years.

“It’s so beneficial to the community to help the children to know about how their cities work, about entrepreneurship and things of that nature,” she said. “They may not even hear from other people about things, and what a need is and what a want is, and those differences there.”

Her husband, Corey Creech, a Wells Fargo employee, also volunteered as an instructor. He said teaching children about finances at a young age gives them an advantage to face the challenges ahead.

“When I was that young I didn’t know about those things,” he said.” When you know the different forms of money and the consequences or benefits from using those types of money, it helps you make better decisions when you get older.”

The program is organized by Junior Achievement, a nonprofit organization that provides programming to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in today’s global economy by focusing its programs on the three key pillars of entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy.

Local community leaders, such as Gastonia Mayor Walker Reid and the Rev. Benjamin Hinton of Tabernacle Baptist Church, also stopped by classrooms to share their experiences and financial advice with students.

Reid said his parents taught him at an early age that “you have to work for what you want in life.” It’s a lesson he also imparted on the impressionable students.

Retired professional football player Nate Salley also lent his advice to students. Salley, who played for the Ohio State Buckeyes in college and then the Carolina Panthers until 2009, spoke about living a fiscally responsible life no matter one’s profession.

A third-grade student told Salley “I want to grow up to be like you” during the program.

“To see individuals who have lived that way and seen success at different levels, in different areas of their life, I think that’s big for them to see the different options that are out there,” said Salley. “I have this jersey on, I played ball, but I’m in corporate America now. We have a pastor, we have individuals that have done different things in their lives but have impacted others.”

A Junior Achievement Day was also held last spring at Sadler Elementary School in Gastonia.

Junior Achievement will provide training for new volunteers as well as all program materials. To get involved with future programs, visit

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