Montezuma Creek, Utah is one of those places. A six-hour drive from Salt Lake City, Phoenix or Denver, Montezuma Creek is a community of just 500 residents in the Navajo Nation, a semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory. It is also home to Whitehorse High School, a low- to moderate-income public school that serves free or reduced lunch to 93% of its students.
“One of the biggest issues is that we are long ways away from everything,” said Whitehorse High School Assistant Principal Kim Schafer. “We are two hours away from the grocery store, an hour from the closest community college. Unless organizations are reaching out to us, we are not going to have the same type of opportunities that students in a city would have. There is no music theatre. There is no bank here. Students just aren’t exposed to the same experiences.”
In 2010, EverFi partnered with American Express to provide our financial education platform to public schools across San Juan County, Utah. Today, the American Express Financial Scholars Program has reached more than 1000 students across 17 high schools. In the last academic year, students’ financial knowledge scores rose by 31% after completing the program.
Last month, we had the honor of attending a certification event at Whitehorse High School to recognize students for their achievement. The highlight of the event was a visit from Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim, who addressed students and encouraged them to reflect on the opportunity they now have to break the cycle of poverty and payday lending that has plagued the Navajo community in recent years.
We had the opportunity to sit down with teachers, students, and Vice President Jim to hear how this program is impacting the local community, and you can watch it here.
Every day, EverFi is working to connect the dots between schools who are eager to innovate and corporate partners who are eager to fund this innovation in our nation’s schools. The American Express program is a shining example of public-private partnerships that truly move education forward.