When a Teacher Lights a Spark

A Reflection by Robert Fezza

By Robert Fezza

My love of personal finance runs deep. It was something I hoped to pass down to my children (along with my unwavering allegiance to the New York Mets). While my son does indeed love baseball, he’s an avid Braves fan. And much to my chagrin, he did not initially inherit my love of personal finance. He ardently has proclaimed he would never have a job in finance like mine, or so I thought. For his senior year in high school, we suggested he add an elective to his schedule: Personal Finance. Without objection, he attended this class, and then something unusual happened. He began asking me questions about car loans and interest, the advantages and disadvantages to buying or leasing, trust funds, credit cards and debt…the list went on. These weren’t one-off questions, but thoughtful inquiries about how these topics affected him, and how his decisions could impact his financial successes or failures.

My son went from thinking my credit card was almost free money, constantly pushing the boundaries of allowable purchases, to someone who applied for his own credit card to help build his credit score. He recognizes the risks of abusing credit and having to pay interest—“that’s what you pay when you don’t pay on time and in full, and that’s bad!” After a classroom discussion on compound interest and learning about the benefits of saving early, he came home to ask me if he could open a Roth IRA account to save some of his money that he earned from his summer job. He started contributing right away and was eager to do so!

I’ve always been proud of my son, but watching him try to apply the lessons he learned in the classroom to his daily life has me brimming with pride. And my gratitude also goes to his teacher, who taught a curriculum that could be boring and dry, but instead transformed it into knowledge that excites and inspires action. This just proves that teachers can bring their subjects to life, lighting a spark in the minds of our children.
That’s why Odyssey is excited to announce Odyssey’s Favorite Teacher Contest. We are reaching out to members of our local community asking you to nominate teachers who have lit that spark for your child. Why?  Because these unsung heroes are shaping our kids’ futures and deserve to be recognized for their hard work. Our first-place winner will receive $1,500, second-place $500, and third-place will receive $250 to use in their classrooms! All you have to do is nominate a teacher and vote for them by “liking” their picture on our Facebook page (@OdysseyPFA). Download the Odyssey Favorite Teacher Contest Nomination Form at www.odysseypfa.com/favorite-teacher-contest. Send the completed nomination form, to Anne.Simpson@
odysseypfa.com. See our ad in the Current Hub for the contest rules and information.

Life’s a journey—navigate it wisely!