Pennies can add up for some VBHS students

PUBLISHED – (Produced by Scripps Publishing) – April 17, 2006


Vero Beach, FL – Jason Athas arrived at Vero Beach High School early. He knows his day will be filled with questions about the financial future of some young faces and he wants to make an impact.

Athas is the manager of Special Programs and Educational Services at Debt Management in Boca Raton. He travels throughout the Treasure Coast to educate high school students about the dos and don’ts of finance. “I’m here today to talk about choices,” Athas said to Vero Beach High School teacher Chad Miller’s first period class. “I don’t want you to rely on the government to take care of you. I want you to fend for yourselves.”

To grab their attention this early in the morning, Athas uses an example. He illustrates for them how saving your pennies can net you a healthy retirement.
“Just let the interest take charge,” he told the accounting students. “With interest, it keeps growing and growing each year.” He admits to the class that thinking about retirement at age 16 or 17 is difficult.

“You can do this while you’re young, discipline yourself now,” he said. When I’m 50 or 55, I don’t want to work until Im 80 because I didn’t put enough money away when I was younger.”

After the presentations at VBHS, Athas recalls what drives him to travel through out the region speaking to students about such a grown-up topic.
“Students have preconceived notions of what credit is for, he said. Athas said Debt Management has been giving these classes to schools for about four years. “We’re a not-for-profit entity and part of that is to go out and educate,” he said. “It really took off and evolved. Our department has taught 6,000 students a year.”

Athas added that the company has taught high school students in Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties about handling money, credit and retirement.”Every time we go (to a high school), another teacher gives us a call,” he said.
For more information on the program, go to http:// .

Contributed by: Debbie Batteiger/ on 4/15/2006

Contact: Jessica Stokes, Education and Research Coordinator