Boca High gets a lesson in budgeting from local debt and credit counselor

PUBLISHED – The Boca Raton News – December 2, 2005Contact: Jessica Stokes, Education and Research Coordinator
jessica@dmcconline.orgBoca High gets a lesson in budgeting from local debt and credit counselor.

“Does anybody here have a credit card?” asked Jessica Stokes, to students attending a business systems and technology course. Boca Raton Community High School senior Dorothy Pierre- Louis offers a debit card. “My mom advised me not to get a credit card just yet, and if I did I should use it only for emergencies,” Pierre- Louis said. That was the message Stokes wanted to convey during the crash course in budgeting. Stokes is an education and resource coordinator for Debt Management Credit Counseling Corporation, a non-profit organization that counsels people who are in debt. During the hour-long class, Stokes discussed how to make a budget, how credit cards work, and how to avoid identity theft.Stokes said the seminar is geared towards high school students because credit card agencies will soon target this specific age group. “We go to high schools and talk to students about the basics of credit scores, reports, and budgeting. We do a mock budget and talk about credit cards,” Stokes said. “Most of the students are targeted as soon as they turn 18. We also talk about the importance of a social security number and identity theft.”

Stokes believes financing money should be more of a focus in high schools. “You get the basics in school, math, history and English but they’re not really taken through how credit works. Without credit they are limited to purchasing a car and a house,” she said. “The term is not common among teens. You’re in college and high school and not focusing on your credit report. I hope this will help in the long run. You can’t prevent debt but we want to educate them how to handle it and how to manage their finances.” Sophomore Alexandra Pajan said she didn’t know how to budget her money before the course. “I don’t know anything about budgeting. I want to learn how to save money. I spend money on clothes, CD’s, going to the movies and shopping,” Pajan said. “It’s important to know how to budget before you go to college so you can know how to use money wisely.”

Junior Bryan Wideman agrees. “When you learn now you won’t make mistakes in the future. In high school it’s good to know about budgeting because when you go to college they throw credit cards at you. This way you know which one to pick,” Wideman said. “I also learned how to budget, how much you need to spend, and the pros and cons of opening a credit card account.” Stokes hopes the students remember her budgeting lesson when faced with racking up charges on credit cards. “I’d like to think they would stop and think for 5 minutes about what I said when the day comes for them to sign-up for a credit card,” Stokes said.

Published Friday, December 2, 2005 1:00 am
by By Nicol Jenkins

Nicol Jenkins can be reached at or 561-549-0844.

Copyright 2005 – Boca Raton News