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Funding the future

October 11, 2017

Weeping Water Public School’s mission is to educate the whole student; academically, artistically, ethically and socially. Through the generosity of sponsors such as Kiel VanderVeen of VanderVeen Financial and President of Nebraska Economic Education Council, Jennifer Davidson of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, WWPS was able to have access to Gooding.


Gooding is a band whose mission is to, “teach finical literacy to every student in America.” Monday October 2, Gooding arrived at WWPS to rock, educate and inspire 6-12th grade students. There were phones waving, music blaring and educational “cogs” turning!


The program opened with principal Gary Wockenfuss and a shout –out of appreciation via Facetime with VanderVeen and recognizing the present sponsor Davidson.


Sponsor Davidson’s role as President of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education allows her the opportunity to see and experience education in action in schools such as WWPS through programs like Funding the Future. The Nebraska Council on Economic Education supports five Economic Education centers throughout the state. These centers work closely with and partner educators to provide world-class financial literacy education for the kindergarten through 12th grade students in Nebraska.


But what is financial literacy? How are we supposed to rock out to it? Why is this happening to us? – Popular questions by both students and staff.


As was discussed, financial literacy is the set of skills and knowledge that allows individuals to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources such as 401K, student loans, retirement and other financial based plans and goals. What does that mean for a bunch of 6-12th graders? It means they can start planning early! Exposure to different financial plans, outlets and programs with assist all students in making informed financial decisions. College bound, work bound and “undecided” individuals need to prepare for their futures, which is precisely why sponsor VanderVeen brought this program to WWPS. As a certified financial planner, VadnerVeen works with clients and individuals on a daily basis who seek guidance in managing their assets and accounts. VanderVeen told WW journalism students he, “…wanted today’s youth to be exposed to financial terms and practices with the hope of them (students) making wise financial decisions.” VanderVeen believes this early exposure to financial maintenance will encourage students to, “Get in the habit of making wise financial decisions at a young age for long term benefits.” VanderVeen mentioned in his line of work, there can be difficulties in correcting bad/inappropriate financial habits. Having a financial literate youth will help students avoid creating bad financial habits to correct when they (students) become adults and are seeking to invest, retire or payback loans and debt.


Debt? 401K? Retirement? Credit Scores? This is a lot to take in, especially in an a little over an hour.


Erin O’Neill, vocalist and guitarist of Gooding put it simply, “Your credit score is like your grade.” She continued, “When you have a low or ‘bad’ grade, it takes time and a lot of doing the right thing to bring that grade back up. Same with your credit score.”


So when does rockin’ out hit the books? Freshmen Annabell Murphy wondered the same, believing the jam session had, “…nothing to do with financial literacy.”


However fellow classmate Erin Redfern though the means for the message was spot on, “They (Gooding) gave us a show and we LISTENED.”  Which according to front man Steve Gooding was the mission all along, “My job is for the students be to suspended disbelief for 10 or 15 minutes, while they’re (students) still in that rock’n roll mode, and explain to them that financial literacy gives you the freedom to do what YOU WANT with the rest of your life.” Financial freedom. Funding the future.


After the show there was a Q and A session. Several students took to the mic and asked the band financial questions and recommendations. Where the band cannot formally advise/guide individuals such as a licensed CFP can, the thousands of hours working along hundreds of CFPs, gave the band the opportunity to share well informed knowledge and facts about financial stability, literacy and education.


The Q and A session concluded with the sharing of social media, a means to download the band’s latest album and win a Gooding t-shirt with the Weeping Water name printed loud and proud.


Upon reflection of the show and sessions, students shared a list of 29 (different) things they learned. The top three being:

One of the best ways to make money is to put away money/you should start putting 10% of each paycheck away TODAY.

Same-day loans are not helpful long term tools.

Save and spent smart; make money work for you, not you work FOR money.


An encore of the lessons taught can be covered in the business finances classes offered at WWPS. WWPS students, staff and administration appreciate Gooding’s lessons and lyrics and the support from our sponsors VanderVeen Financial and Jennifer Davidson. Rock on in the right direction!

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