Tahlequah High School students tackle real-life scenarios during Cherokee Nation Day at JA Finance Park

October 26, 2017

Todd Gourd, chief information officer for CNB and board director for Junior Achievement of Oklahoma’s Tulsa Region, guides Tahlequah High School students through using the interactive kiosks at the JA Finance Park during Cherokee Nation Day. Todd Gourd, chief information officer for CNB and board director for Junior Achievement of Oklahoma’s Tulsa Region, guides Tahlequah High School students through using the interactive kiosks at the JA Finance Park during Cherokee Nation Day.

TULSA, Okla. — Students from Tahlequah High School recently joined volunteers from Cherokee Nation Businesses for the first Cherokee Nation Day at Junior Achievement of Oklahoma’s JA Finance Park.

The program’s reality-based and tangible, real-world simulations allowed the teens to apply previous classroom lessons to theoretical life situations.

“I’m excited to help further the relationship between Cherokee Nation and JA,” said Todd Gourd, chief information officer for CNB and board director for Junior Achievement of Oklahoma’s Tulsa Region. “JA Finance Park is a tremendous opportunity for CNB employees to help teach students the importance of personal financial literacy while helping them develop a strong foundation for their future.”

Volunteers with CNB’s Community Impact Team provided perspective and guided students as they researched businesses and navigated tasks such as creating monthly budgets, shopping and paying monthly bills.

JA’s simulations include life situation profiles with details of each student’s hypothetical adult life such as job title, annual salary, age, marital status, family size, debt and tax amounts, as well as extras such as employment background and commute times.

“JA Finance Park takes our classroom curriculum to the next level by adding simulation, which is a big step forward for JA,” said Robyn Brown, director of JA Finance Park. “Each student is issued a tablet with their persona. They visit 19 kiosks with interactive computers and card scanners simulating stores, restaurants and utility companies among other real-world businesses. Each decision they make impacts their life situation, just like in the real world.”

Cherokee Nation has a longstanding partnership with Junior Achievement of Oklahoma. It was the first tribe to set up a commercial space in JA BizTown, a kid-sized city teaching financial literacy and life lessons through hands-on application. In addition, the tribe works closely with Cherokee Nation Foundation and CNB to sponsor school trips to the Tulsa facility and bring JA programming into classrooms throughout northeast Oklahoma.

The Community Impact Team is a companywide initiative dedicated to helping promote volunteerism and community engagement for all employees. This year, CNB employees have dedicated roughly 4,000 volunteer service hours to community outreach projects, numerous charitable efforts and volunteer-based activities such as JA BizTown, JA Investor Challenge and JA Finance Park.

JA Finance Park is a program dedicated to educating middle and high school students in the basics of financial literacy: budgeting, investing and managing risk, as well as reinforcing the value of education. Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to preparing students for workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through hands-on programming. To learn more about how you can support Junior Achievement Oklahoma or to sign up your classroom, visit www.jaok.org.