An Insider’s Look at an RTSWS Classroom Workshop
Forging Forever Finance Friends
The auditorium at Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School in Nashville, TN filled quickly as the high school girls entered in packs. A record 42 girls participated in financial modeling this semester. The girls knew there was work to be done—they were entering their FINAL Rock The Street, Wall Street (RTSWS) classroom workshop for 2018. On this day, our RTSWS volunteers – Jennifer Knight, Senior Investment Analyst at Hospital Corporation of America, Maggie Ehrenreich, Assistant V.P. Relationship Manager at Wells Fargo, and April Edman, Director of Financial Processes at Sarah Cannon Center, led the charge.
“Their eagerness to learn is inspirational. All the students have became more vocal as they understand this is a safe place to talk about money,” said Jennifer Knight.
Kerissa Bryant, a senior who hopes to attend Stanford next year, sat near the front as Jennifer gave an overview of their task for the day—break into groups and prepare a budget for Janella, a fictional 27-year-old woman who has a job, bills to pay and savings goals to meet. The students immediately get to work calculating and allocating together and bouncing ideas off one another. This collaborative approach to math application and exposure to financial professionals has opened the girls’ minds to managing their own money and to financial sector careers.
“I now know I am capable of having a career in finance, whereas before it was never presented to me” said Kerissa Bryant. “It also enforced I could start my own company – a dream of mine. I thought it was this big dramatic thing, but this program cemented to me that business and finance are not as complicated as I thought.”
As a public academic magnet school within Metro Nashville Public Schools, students at MLK need to qualify with an academic average of 85 or above and Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) scores that are “proficient” or “advanced.” In short, these girls have worked hard to get where they are.
MLK students agree that following the stock market is a particularly compelling part of the curriculum. Students follow the price patterns of a number of stocks throughout the five week series of workshops. This is just a small example of how RTSWS ensures our curriculum is “up to minute” and relatable to our students. They discover, too, the various career opportunities available to them in financial services – careers they had no idea even existed prior to joining RTSWS.
Awareness of pay inequality is the first step, not only for professionals in the workplace now, but for the next generation. RTSWS equips high school students at a pivotal point in their lives. As they embark on their life paths they are fueled with the data they need to be advocates for change for themsleves, and at their future colleges and workplaces. It starts with awareness…it continues with action! Below is a recent ADP study on gender pay inequality.
Thanks For Rocking Our Vote!
Out of 500 submissions and more than 166,000 votes, RTSWS is a First Tennessee #25YearsofGiving Winner. The funds will go directly to empowering high school girls in Tennessee to “own” their financial lives.