For the past 18-months, representatives from the Bank of Montreal BMO have been going to Caledonia Secondary School in Terrace to present classes on financial literacy for students.
The sessions are used to explain various financial concepts, including the stock market, budgeting, information about mortgages and saving and investing packages.
“Prior to us coming in it was either the teacher teaching the financial literacy part or the class didn’t exist,” said Iain Acton, branch manager of the Lakelse Avenue location. “We’ve taken on that portion of the class so that the teachers don’t have to teach something they aren’t necessarily an expert on.”
Acton said Kristin Redpath, a teacher at the Caledonia School, reached out to BMO originally and asked if someone could come in and help explain the financial literacy portion of their “Transition to Adulthood” class to students.
He then partnered with Martin Loggin, BMO’s financial services manager, and scheduled three 45-minute presentations each term to students enrolled in the class. After receiving positive feedback, the two were then invited to speak with Monica Strimbold’s class when news about BMO’s involvement spread.
“Financial literacy is not just something learned in high school,” said Acton. “We work with customers every day to help them with their finances, and there are a lot of people who would have loved to have been in a class like this.”
On May 10, Loggin visited the school during a spare block to go over financial literacy to a group of approximately 50 students, returning later with Acton in the afternoon to give a similar presentation to 10 students in Caledonia’s school completion program.
After the presentation, Strimbold said she felt her students were engaged and asked questions throughout. She said she will be inviting Acton and Loggin again for more sessions in the future.
“They were great, I was really impressed with how open they were. They were able to make simple some things that were quite complicated, and they were open to discussion and open to questions,” Strimbold said.
The financial literacy sessions will be continuing for two classes in the fall and spring semester next year with three presentations per class, per semester.