ATLANTA – Students of the Business, Engineering, Science and Technology
(B.E.S.T.) Academy got the message Monday – and the message was: take control of your financial future and your life by learning about how money works for and against you.
John Hope Bryant, co-chairman of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, urges B.E.S.T. Academy students to take control of their economic futures. (Photo by Scott King) .
The 228 students sat at rapt attention as Andrew Young, former U.N. ambassador, U.S. congressman and Atlanta mayor, and John Hope Bryant, vice-chairman of the President’s Council on Financial Literacy, talked to them about how to become financially independent – and proud black men – by making smart decisions about money early in life.
“The way to make things happen in your life,” Young told the students, “is not for you to just work for money, but to learn how to make money work for you.” In introducing Bryant, he said he “came to a realization that no one is going to help you unless you help yourself and help each other.”
Young said Bryant was appointed by President George W. Bush to start a Council on
Financial Literacy, under the U.S. Treasury Department with Bryant as vice chairman and
Charles Schwab, founder and CEO of the brokerage firm that bears his name, as chairman.
Bryant, founder and CEO of Operation HOPE, a national organization whose mission is
“to eradicate poverty in our lifetime through the ‘Silver Rights Movement,’” called that the
next step in the Civil Rights Movement, “which has to be about empowering ourselves, to
make better choices, for our lives.”
Bryant said the first step for the B.E.S.T. students is to realize that “nobody owes you
a thing. The world doesn’t owe you anything. You’ve got to earn respect in this world.” And
he noted “there’s a difference between being poor and bring broke. Being broke is an
economic condition. Being poor is a disabling state of mind.”
“Your mission in life,” he said, “is to get through school, get your high school
diploma, get a college education, get a job, get married and have a family – in that order.”
But he got most attention when he told the students, “Here’s how you get rich: at
age 17, get a part-time job making $1,000 a month, and follow the 10-percent rule” – 10
percent of that $1,000 goes into savings every month. By the time you get to age 65, he
said, “you’ll have $4.3 million.”
B.E.S.T. Principal Curt Green said his school is putting the financial literacy
component of his students’ education into action right away. “Today,” he said, “we’re going
to get a banking class and an entrepreneurship class off the ground.”
ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS is one of the top-performing urban school systems in America. Our innovative learning programs, nationally recognized best practices and excellent teachers are making a difference in the lives of our 50,000 K-12 students. We are committed to ensuring that all students graduate from our schools ready for success in college and life, and prepared to build a stronger Atlanta. For additional information about APS, please visit our Web site at www.atlantapublicschools.us