ALLIANCE — Is it possible that rock n’ roll and financial literacy can come together in one concert experience? Well it did happen at the Performing Arts Center on Friday afternoon through the popular band, Gooding. This is their fifth tour in Nebraska and they have reached more than 10,000 students in Nebraska through this unique delivery.

Gooding consists of members Steven Gooding (lead guitar and vocals), Jesse Reichenberger (drums), Eric Santagada (bass and vocals), and Erin O’Neill (guitar and vocals). Gooding gave a bit of the background information of the forming of the band and it began when members Gooding and Reichenberger met in seventh grade and participated in the seventh grade talent show, “We stuck together over the years and we played everywhere. We built it up and met Erin O’Neill from Los Angeles and Eric Santagada on bass.”

So why the theme of financial literacy? Gooding happily informed, “We fell into this because of so many issues we saw in the communities all come down to this common denominator of financial literacy. We played a lot of places and I hear a lot of people talk about taking out same day loans and I figured, what is one thing that I would of learned that would of changed some of my decisions. I knew more geometry then how to balance a checkbook … Even people that are famous don’t know how to manage money. They can come up fast and come down even faster.  We are just trying to teach the students about discipline and their money.”

Before the concert experience, Jennifer Davidson, president of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education and Economics Professor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and Eric Oestman, assistant principal at Alliance High School, sat down to discuss the significance of Gooding.

Davidson stated, “We are a non-profit and our focus is K-12 teacher professional development and student activities for development for personal finance. Why I really like the band and them visiting the schools is because it’s a unique delivery mechanism for what is normally dry information. The students really get engaged and are actually listening. This seems to be much more beneficial for the student outcomes to this kind of delivery.”

Oestman added that from a school’s perspective, Alliance High teaches a class called Money Wise that all the students are required to take stemming from financial literacy management and its something that Oestman wants the student to understand and apply to their lives. “Anything from paying student loans, to getting a savings account, to opening up a business, its an opportunity for our kids and get them active and moving.”

Davidson added that its most important that students learn these concepts and life lessons even before high school, “If we can get them young, they have time on their side.”

Oestman added, “We are coming off of financial aid night, student loans, the FAFSA, and how to be able to pay for college. There are so many opportunities made to not only the parents but for the kids. If they know what they are getting in to in terms of saving accounts, grants, scholarships, this will help them be ready to get out into this world.” But Oestman hopes that the students leave this concert experience remembering the band but also the principles that came with the band.

And this experience is one that the students will remember for sure. The mix of rock n’ roll music had the students cheering and clapping while the financial literacy talk kept the students engaged. Gooding commented to a student, “Something as strange as financial literacy is something I would like you all to care about.”

During Gooding’s presentation, many were intrigued as he informed the audience that zero is no longer the bottom for one can take out a loan, credit cards, etc. The students of Alliance High had even more interesting questions such as, “Why is female bankruptcy on the rise?” “How do you get out debt?” “Credit scores?”

Each member of the band told their own personal stories of learning financial literacy and applying these experiences to their own careers and businesses. The audience enjoyed this unique experience as the students were allowed to go to the front and receive posters and signed autographs from the band.

For information or to listen to Gooding’s music, visit their website at goodingmusic.com or visit fundingthefuturelive.org

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