NGPF Podcast: Student Advocates Jack Gecawich and Nick Sanzi of East Greenwich High School (RI)
All too often, the legislative efforts and policy debates about personal finance education leave out an all important voice: the student. That's why I was so happy for the opportunity to talk to Jack and Nick about their efforts to move the state of Rhode Island forward in improving access to financial education. In this podcast, you will hear about the motivation behind their advocacy efforts, their "elevator pitch" to legislators and what they have personally gained by taking Pat Page's Personal Finance class (Pat is an NGPF Fellow). Subsequent to this podcast, the finance education bill finds itself in that all too common place of "legislative limbo." Given Jack and Nick's determination, I anticipate legislators have not seen the last of them. I suspect that we will see them making repeat appearances at the RI State House until legislators act on this consequential bill.
- 0:00~2:20 Introduction
- 2:20~5:10 The students’ involvement in the personal finance bill
- 5:10~10:12 The process of student advocacy
- 10:12~13:15 Where the opposition comes from
- 13:15~13:48 A word from NGPF
- 13:48~16:51 What the Rhode Island bill looks like
- 16:51~21:10 Lessons from the process of advocacy
- 21:10~22:39 What they talked about in their testimony
- 22:39~26:04 Memorable lessons from Pat Page’s class
- 26:04~29:45 Stax from a student perspective
- 29:45~33:16 Importance of advocacy
- 33:16~34:28 Conclusion
- Jack and Nick's Testimony at the RI State House (Video starts at 30:00)
“Without the student voice in the mix, there’s something missing. The students at the end of the day are the ones who are going to reap the rewards of this type of education and they are the ones that need the investment.” -Jack
“I used this an analogy with my AP Chemistry class since it was the hardest class I was in. Not any of my fellow students could balance a checkbook but could balance a chemical equation and not many knew what a bond was but could tell you what a hydrogen bond was.” -Nick
About the Authors
Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.
Ren has been working part-time at NGPF since 2014, interning through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, after graduating from college in 2020, he joined the team to work full time with a focus on teacher onboarding. He is also the editor of the NGPF podcast and makes sure it is accessible to teachers on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play Music. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world and try out new brewing methods, even though personal finance gurus tend to caution against buying a cup of joe.
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