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Nottingham Students Learn Finance and Life Skills through First Generation Investors

This is a photo of four students sitting around a table, looking over one of the student's laptops. Personal finance. Stocks and bonds. Volatility and Diversification. Mutual Funds/EFTs. Compound interest. Dollar cost averaging.
These are concepts that a group of Nottingham juniors and seniors are familiar with – thanks to the First Generation Investors group.
Over the course of eight sessions, the high school students meet with Syracuse University Finance students to learn basic financial concepts.
“It’s been fulfilling – they’re so willing to learn,” Syracuse University junior Dylan France said. “If I had learned these things in high school, I would have been so much more prepared!”
“Not a lot of students know how to apply for financial aid or plan for retirement,” Syracuse University junior Ying Xin Tan added. “This gives them the basic knowledge to help prepare them for the future.”
Aside from providing students with introductory financial concepts, the Syracuse University students said they also hope their lessons can in time help close the wealth gap, which disproportionally impacts people of color.  
“It’s essential for students to learn these things when they’re young, because they are things that are applicable to every stage of your life,” Syracuse University senior Thomas Park said. “We teach them about everything from investing to credit scores and more – they’re things that are important for everyone to know. A big factor in wealth disparity is knowledge disparity. We’re ultimately hoping that this group can help close the wealth gap through teaching these lessons.”
At the end of the program, the Nottingham students created a presentation showing what they learned about investing and how they would plan to use what they learned to protect and grow their assets.
“We’ve learned about mortgages and different ways you can invest,” senior Zain Almohamed said. “I find it really useful because they’re basically teaching us ways that we could make money! I see this being part of my life for sure. I can’t wait until I turn 18 so I can start investing!”
“It’s been great to learn about different kinds of funds and investment options are out there,” senior Lal Lian added. “I feel like it’s good for our generation to learn these things, because some of our parents don’t really talk about investing. I’ve learned that it’s smart to get a job, save some, and invest some. There are different types of investments, and we’ve learned the pros and cons of each of them.”
“I’ve been in the Business Technology program for four years, so a lot of this is nothing new to me,” senior Noor Alowaid shared. “But if I want to invest my money, I’ve learned how to use it – how to invest it to help grow my wealth. I’ve also learned about financial aid and how to take out loans. This will 100% help me in the future. For example, I didn’t know that loans come with interest. So the faster I pay off a loan, the less I end up paying over time. I will definitely be taking these lessons with me in life!”
At the conclusion of the program, Nottingham students created a final portfolio of $100 using real funds provided by First Generation Investors donors. The investment accounts will be held in trust until the students graduate from high school and turn 18, at which point they will receive the real investment account to manage themselves!
“The FGI experience benefits students by exposing them to financial literacy in a practical way,” Nottingham Business Teacher Debi Geroux said. “Throughout this program, they have worked on understanding finance concepts like banking, credit and debt, return on investment, and compounding. They learned what the stock and bond markets are, how to assess risk, and how to invest. And they used $100 of real money donated to the program to create their own investment portfolio! This program has set them up with basic knowledge for responsible money management and hopefully will incentivize them to continue to invest into the future.”
We’re so proud of these Nottingham students for taking the time to invest in their future financial success!
Anthony Q. Davis, Superintendent
725 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
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