Chamberlain & Liberty High School and BDCo, LLP

The program – multi-week visits

Since 2012, we have had the privilege of working with teachers and administration at Chamberlain and Liberty High Schools to offer student financial education.  All of the seven week courses were tailored to meet the unique requirements of students who might be in the same classroom for multiple years. Topics were built around Junior Achievement’s curriculum which engages students through relevant, topical content and hands-on learning.  During the course of this multi-year program, students have learned about personal finance, explored job and career planning, and been immersed in entrepreneurial training. All of the classwork culminated in the creation of an Entrepreneur Academy which was launched in 2015 to create a student-based business opportunity that would provide on-going training opportunities for these students and future classes.

What we learned

Two members of the BDCo team each taught two classrooms per week for seven weeks.  As a result of their recurring visits and on-going commitment to the students, the instructors were able to get to know the students, understand their goals, and learn about their unique talents.  Students who initially held back began to trust and share as the weeks progressed.  By the end of the program, there was a high level of mutual respect and a wealth of student-generated ideas that were ready for action.  Later, as students were put in leadership positions, they rose to the occasion.  The adult instructors gained new insights and hope for future generations.

What they learned

Students seemed to appreciate the perspective of adults in the business world.  While the students clearly had the entrepreneurial drive, they didn’t have the knowledge or tools to succeed long term. They seemed eager to learn more about the financial impact of different decisions and how the pieces all fit together.  They were able to make the connection between personal financial management, career choices, and entrepreneurial effort –and how to get from dream to execution.

We know that with the right support, these young people will take  their dream, add passion and hard work and become our future business leaders.  Our adult instructors learned that while there is no audience more intimidating than a room full of high school students, once that light bulb goes on, it burns very bright. There is no greater reward.

Photo shows Liberty High School students working with the Napa County Conservation District to improve a local park and help with creek restoration. The students designed logo’d shirts as part of this class project.

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