Marla Edwards kicked off her class on money matters for English language learners with an incentive. The student in her Mission Hills High School classroom in San Marcos, California, who devised the most viable, creative business plan would win an autographed football signed by NFL players.
Wide Receiver Wes Walker and Center Dan Koppen of the Patriots, as well as Brandon Jacobs of the Giants and other players teamed up with Visa to help high school students devise their best financial game plans. They signed and donated the football to inspire students and passed it on to Edwards who was the winning nominee for the prize.
In her class, Edwards teaches teens an overview of money management skills including how to build credit, reduce debt, establish budgets and write real-world, workable business plans. She emphasizes the importance of learning basic money skills for a successful future. "This gives students some real-world vocabulary and terms that they didn't have before - that they don't often get as second-language learners. They start to see the relevancy of money in their lives and future," she says.
For the class enrichment project, Edwards assigned the task of writing a complete business plan for a teenage venture. Edwards judged the projects on creativity; feasibility; as well as attention to detail and developed ideas. Edwards anticipated reading a lot of plans for babysitting, yard work or pet sitting. But when she read the plan submitted by one of her ninth-grade students named Johnny, she knew she had a winner.
Johnny designed a film production company based on his filmmaking skills called "Kick 'N Films Production." He writes, "I will go to the occasion of your choice. If it's a birthday, wedding, anniversary, quinceanera, etc. I will be at the celebration, shoot it, edit, and deliver it to you in a DVD disk copy with a menu set-up that separates the different events of the day."
Edwards applauds Johnny's originality. "His project was chosen because his was the most original. The judges were impressed that he included great details, creative graphics on his flyer/business card and that he talked about how he got into filmmaking," she says.
Inspired by the assignment, Johnny says, "What I liked about the project is winning the football and getting an experience of writing a business plan. It's cool to get a football signed by the New England Patriots. And it's not just one autograph, the whole football is filled with them!"