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Senior Series: Money Matters
Financial Literacy Senior Series

During second semester of each year, the CDS Wellness Department hosts a series of speakers to provide seniors with information and tools they will need to be safe and smart as they prepare for the opportunities, independence, and challenges of college life and adulthood. Topics include: Crowd Safety presented by the Tampa Police Department; Assault Prevention presented by Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Hazing Prevention presented by alumni parent, Lianne Kowiak whose son, Harrison Kowiak, lost his life as a result of fraternity hazing; and Mental Health / Building your support network at college presented by USF Center for Student Well-Being. This year a special workshop on Personal Finances has been added to the series.

This valuable and engaging program was presented by six members of the graduating class: BrieAnn H., Alyssa H., Geethika J., Daniella P., Isabella W., and Kaidyn W. These girls voluntarily participated in an after-school workshop last year called Invest in Girls, a program of the Council for Economic Education. They decided to turn what they learned into a CAS project and ran a two-day personal finance workshop for their cohort of graduating seniors this week.

Financial Literacy Senior Series

They sent letters to financial/budgeting app companies and published authors and were able to secure prizes, like copies of the books I Will Teach You to be Rich and You Need a Budget as well as free service credits for the YNAB app. They created an educational video and sent it to the 12th grade advisories and then hosted a two-day workshop with experiential learning activities. The program opened with the seniors meeting a fortune teller who gave them a fortune card with their future salary, credit score and predicted whether they would have kids and/or pets to consider. Then in the workshop, they learned about some average costs that would be on their budget and armed with calculators and smartphones, they used their future salary to make a 50/30/20 balanced budget. They also played an online game to learn about their credit score and try to improve it. The girls also shared some budgeting hacks for college life and the importance of having an emergency savings fund.

They even had a tip to share with CDS alumni. The “You Need a Budget app offers one year free to college students. All they need to do is go to and click “Get Your Free Year Of YNAB” to enroll. 

Upper school business management teacher, Lindsey Montague observed, “This was a great collaborative CAS project and the girls should be extremely proud of themselves!” Here are some photos from this busy workshop.