Art and finance found common ground through Cab Calloway student poster designs to support the University's Keys to Financial Success program.

Art and finance

Cab Calloway students design posters for University's CEEE

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12:44 p.m., Jan. 10, 2012--Money Man, Lady Finance and Mr. Responsibility battled the Bamboozler in protecting the keys to financial success last Wednesday at the Christiana Hilton in Wilmington, Del. 

Although their names are fictitious, these financial heroes and the lessons they teach are very real. Designed for a poster series to support the Keys to Financial Success program in the University of Delaware’s Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, the trio and their archnemesis were unveiled at a dinner that celebrated their creation by a group of students from Cab Calloway School for the Arts.

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Sarah Driban, Abigail Dwornik, Francesca Reyes, Jack Sherry and Nicole Walsh, all recent graduates of Cab Calloway, invented the comic characters to help students learn about goals and decision-making, budgeting, saving and investing, risk protection and more.

“The main goal of the Keys to Financial Success program is that all Delaware students leave high school financially literate,” said Barbara Emery, CEEE program coordinator and coordinator of the Keys program. “Financial literacy means more than just learning to balance a checkbook or keep a savings account and we need a way to relay information about retirement planning, pensions, housing and more.”

According to Emery, students need resources other than textbooks that tend to be out of date once they hit the shelves. Handouts, excerpts from texts and web materials instead serve as resources for students and teachers.

“Building information in this way helps us to be flexible with our curriculum as things change over time,” said Emery.

What teachers did not yet have but requested, said Emery, were visuals to accompany their teaching materials.

“These posters fulfilled that request by addressing all nine themes covered in the Keys to Financial Success curriculum,” she said.

Reminiscent of a comic strip, Money Man, Lady Finance and Mr. Responsibility are shown in nine separate vignettes fighting the Bamboozler (who represents everything from identity theft to fraud) and teaching lessons on credit (poster reads: “Credit score: the most important grade you will ever earn”); transportation (poster reads: “Choose the ride that is most fiscally responsible for you.”); and financial products, services and mechanics (poster reads: “Don’t get trapped in poor money management! Know your options.”).

Robert Glen, state bank commissioner, applauded the students’ design.

“As state bank commissioner, I know how important it is to help people understand the benefits of planning ahead,” said Glen. “Congratulations on a terrific job. These posters are great and will certainly help students learn the benefits of financial planning.” 

Glen, who Emery called one of the “go-to” supporters of the CEEE, has worked with the center on other personal finance initiatives, including the Bank at School Program and Teach Children to Save Day.

He also spoke Wednesday about the Financial Literacy Education Fund, launched by Gov. Jack Markell, and its role in providing funding to increase financial literacy among students and adults.

“Financial literacy and education are top priorities for the state,” said Glen. “We regulate about 600 non-bank businesses that provide financial services to customers, and our goal is to make sure they operate honestly, treat customers fairly and comply with the law.”

Glen explained that the fund is generated by fees charged to these businesses and noted the CEEE was awarded a grant based on its commendable work with financial literacy education.

According to Emery, the CEEE has used the funds to offer additional teacher training, reach out to parents about funding a college education and provide ongoing support for teachers through the Ask the Experts seminar series.

Funding has also served to make projects like the poster series become a reality.

The students were recognized individually after the dinner with a design certificate and official glossy print sets of the posters. Emery also thanked Cab Calloway art teacher Richard Hanell, who responded to her proposal for the design and led the formation of the student group.

In closing, Emery presented Cab Calloway Dean Julie Rumschlag and math teacher Ed Killheffer with a framed poster complete with names of the student designers.

About the Keys to Financial Success

At the request of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the CEEE, in partnership with the Delaware Bankers Association and Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Delaware and Maryland, wrote and implemented a high school personal finance course.

Beginning with Newark High School as a pilot in 2001, the Keys to Financial Success course expanded each year until it reached 23 Delaware schools with an average of 27 teachers delivering the class.

Over the past 10 years, approximately 1,800 students have taken the class each year. Currently, 28 public, parochial and private high schools offer personal finance instruction for 3,575 students from 19 districts. Three charter schools have also instituted this course.

The Keys to Financial Success is supported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Bank of America, Delaware Bankers Association and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Maryland and Delaware.

Article by Kathryn Meier

Photos by Kevin Quinlan

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