First Century Bank News

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For Immediate Release:

November 21, 2014



Students from Soldiers Memorial Middle at JA BizTown




Students Explore How Financial Literacy, Work Readiness, and Entrepreneurship Play Out In Real Life


They are not old enough to drive, work, date, or be the boss. But when Claiborne County Schools came to JA BizTown™ on November 3, 5, 6, and 7th, hundreds of Claiborne County fifth graders had the opportunity to run banks, manage restaurants, read utility meters, write checks, and even vote. This opportunity was funded through a sponsorship from First Century Bank in Claiborne County. Rob Barger, President and CEO, of First Century Bank spearheaded the initiative to bring Claiborne County Schools to JA BizTown. “An opportunity like JA BizTown gives kids a once in a lifetime hands-on learning experience. It’s an excellent opportunity for them to see what it’s like to be an adult for a day and to see what is happening right now in jobs and workplaces around the region. It provides a learning opportunity that will teach them to be the best that they can be in the career that they will choose later in life. First Century Bank is proud to support our community by investing in kids in this way,” said Rob Barger, President and CEO.


JA BizTown, located at 2135 N. Charles G. Seivers Blvd in Clinton, TN combines in-class learning with a day-long visit to the JA BizTown™ facility. It is a fully interactive, true-to-life, simulated town where students learn the fundamental relationship between academics and life beyond school.


“Walking around JA BizTown writing checks, applying for bank loans, and assuming the role of a CEO, CFO, or radio station disc jockey may feel like fun and games for the students,” said Jennifer Seiber, JA BizTown Manager. “But the fact is JA BizTown puts the game of life into serious context for kids by helping them connect the dots between what they learn in school and how financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship – the economics of life – play out in the real world.”


The JA BizTown program begins with a four-week, in-class curriculum that encompasses financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship while providing a strong focus on social studies, reading, writing, and mathematics skills. The curriculum aligns with state education and common core standards and is delivered by the students’ teacher. Students study the rights and responsibilities of citizenship as well as the circular flow of goods, services, and resources in an economy. Through a series of critical thinking exercises, they realize that resources are often scarce and learn the important distinction between wants and needs. They come head-to-head with taxes as they learn how government administers tax dollars to support public goods and services. They also learn how people donate their “three Ws” – work, wealth, and wisdom – while exploring philanthropy and its role in the community.


But for students to fully understand how all these concepts play out in the real world, especially when they visit JA BizTown, they are asked to think from two perspectives: that of the consumer and that of the business person. As consumers, they receive a paycheck and a checkbook, and must balance their checkbook register while making deposits and writing checks to purchase items. They also handle JA BizTown cash and, hopefully, make good decisions with their money. As business people, they are responsible for managing staff, working as a team, accounting for business expenses, and juggling their professional and personal responsibilities. Through the JA BizTown experience, students quickly see how success in the workplace means showing up on time and getting along with other people. And for those playing the role of a business owner, the challenge is to pay their business expenses and still take in enough money to make a profit.


Thank you, Rob Barger and First Century Bank, for your support of the JA BizTown program and for recognizing the importance of enhanced learning opportunities for students in Claiborne County!


About Junior Achievement of East Tennessee, Inc.

Junior Achievement of East Tennessee, Inc. is dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after-school programs for students in grades K-12. Junior Achievement offers educational programs that focus on seven key content areas: business, citizenship, economics, entrepreneurship, ethics/character, financial literacy, and career development. For more information, visit