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Hempfield Area High School students get financial advice to rock 'n' roll beat

Jamie Martines
| Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, 5:36 p.m.

Rock 'n' roll is about freedom: the freedom to buy a car, to own a home and to live debt-free.

That's the message the rock band GOODING, which combines lessons in financial literacy with rock music, delivered to the students of Hempfield Area High School during performances Monday.

The band sings about life and love, loss and happiness, the same things most rock bands sing about, said lead singer and founder Steven Gooding, who goes by Gooding.

“If I'm doing my job as a songwriter, and we're doing our jobs as musicians, the music should work in any environment,” Gooding said.

But after a 30-minute set, when the auditorium lights come up and the leather jackets and guitar straps come off, the band talks to students about the tough times in life and how to avoid them. In many cases, that starts with having a strong grasp on personal finance, Gooding said.

The band has been taking its financial literacy program to schools across the United States and Canada since 2014. Performances are supported by the nonprofit Funding the Future and corporate sponsorships, with no cost to school districts. When the band isn't performing at schools, they're in the studio or producing music for film and television.

In a presentation following the musical performance, GOODING discussed the importance of setting up a savings account and monitoring spending. They also touched on how to research college loans and maintain a healthy credit score.

The assembly was part of efforts throughout the high school to teach students about personal finance. For example, the school added a new financial literacy course this fall that is required for all freshmen, in which students learn skills like how to make a budget and balance a checkbook.

Bringing in GOODING was another way teachers hope to bring these lessons to life.

“It's a unique way to present it to our student body, in a way that makes them a little more aware and perceptive,” said John Howell, business education department chairman in the Hempfield Area School District.

Students said the performance got them thinking about what they can start doing to manage their personal finances.

“I have three jobs, and by looking at my bank account, you wouldn't know,” said senior Kaley Smith.

She Smith plans to attend college and pursue a career as a pediatric nurse after high school and is thinking about how she's going to pay the bills once she's on her own.

Her classmate Mya Perkins, also a senior, said she got the message.

“It was so entertaining, and it had nothing to do with finance at first,” Perkins said of the performance.

And because it was fun and upbeat, Perkins said, she and her classmates were more inclined to tune in to the technical details about managing credit cards and loan payments.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at jmartines@tribweb.com or 724-850-2867 or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

Gooding, lead singer of the band GOODING, talks to students about the importance of financial literacy at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
Gooding, lead singer of the band GOODING, talks to students about the importance of financial literacy at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
Gooding, lead singer of the band GOODING, and bassist Eric Santagada, perform for students at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
Jamie Martines | Tribune-Review
Gooding, lead singer of the band GOODING, and bassist Eric Santagada, perform for students at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
Joshua Stoner, Lauryn Rosetti and Madison McKelvey, all 10th-graders, listen to GOODING perform at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
Joshua Stoner, Lauryn Rosetti and Madison McKelvey, all 10th-graders, listen to GOODING perform at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
Hempfield Area High School students listen as members of the band GOODING share a lesson about financial literacy on Nov. 6.
Hempfield Area High School students listen as members of the band GOODING share a lesson about financial literacy on Nov. 6.
Dakota Ray, a 10th-grader at Hempfield Area High School, asks the band GOODING a question about personal finance during the band's performance at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
Dakota Ray, a 10th-grader at Hempfield Area High School, asks the band GOODING a question about personal finance during the band's performance at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
Eric Santagada, bassist for the band GOODING, signs a band poster for student Joshua Stoner, 10th grade, following a performance at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
Eric Santagada, bassist for the band GOODING, signs a band poster for student Joshua Stoner, 10th grade, following a performance at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
Members of the band GOODING sign posters for students following a performance at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
Members of the band GOODING sign posters for students following a performance at Hempfield Area High School on Nov. 6.
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