Financial literacy education gets a rock-n-roll twist at PRCC

Published 6:47 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2023

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Hundreds of middle school students descended upon the Poplarville Campus of Pearl River Community College for a unique combination of a rock concert mixed with a financial literacy talk. The program, sponsored by the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, was titled Funding the Future and featured the band, Gooding.  

The presentation kicked off with several original songs by Gooding, including “California Gold” and “Last Train Home,” that energized the students with many individuals clapping or waving their arms in time to the music. After a short promotional video highlighting many of the group’s musical appearances in commercials, films and TV shows, lead singer Steven Gooding came back on the stage to share about financial literacy. 

“The driving rock vibe produced by Gooding Band captured the attention of the attendees, but more importantly, the lead singer gripped the imaginations of our future leaders by challenging them to unleash potential by avoiding financial pitfalls from unnecessary debt,” said Dr. Jennifer Seal, Dean of the Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute Poplarville Campus.  “He challenged them to invest in themselves by establishing and utilizing savings accounts to protect against uncertainties and to build for the future.” 

The overarching message was that the younger you are when you learn the basics of financial literacy and begin to save, the more likely you are to have financial stability in your life. 

The information provided came from both statistical sources (e.g., how many NFL players are financially sinking after 5 years) and personal experience (e.g., avoiding bills racked up by overspending on unnecessary items.) Everything shared was done to make a point that someone’s demographics alone should not dictate how their lives will be. 

“I believe your hard work and how you treat other people is what should make the difference and financial literacy is a huge part of it,” said Gooding. “Money is not good or bad; rather it is our lack of knowledge about money that hurts ourselves, our family, and our communities.” 

Along with students from Baxterville School, Earl Travillion School in Forrest County, Hancock Middle School, and Middle School of Poplarville, the audience included several PRCC students from the Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute Poplarville Campus and college life classes. 

“The performance and presentation given by the band GOODING was both energetic and informational,” said Paige Ramond, a Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute student. “The performance, in the beginning, aided in grasping the attention of listeners of all ages, and the information given afterward was something that anyone could learn something from.  

“They did an excellent job of presenting the information on finances in a way that was easy to understand and remember, especially for the age group it was directed at.” 

The Nashville-based band, Gooding, is an energetic three-piece rock band featuring Gooding (lead vocals and guitars), Erin O’Neill (vocals and guitar), and Jesse Reichenberger (drums.) They have performed at over 2,000 shows and their music has been heard in more than 200 films and TV shows. 

Funding the Future was created by Gooding to educate students nationwide on making wise financial decisions through a multimedia presentation featuring music, video and an inspirational message from a musical celebrity. Topics covered include smart money habits, credit scores, loans, compound interest, financial pitfalls, and community mentorship. The program emphasizes the importance of developing good saving habits early and avoiding high-interest debt. Gooding also debunks the myth of overnight success promoted by celebrities and encourages students to seek support and mentorship in their communities. 

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