On Friday, February 12th, The ABC (Advice Beyond the Classroom) program embarked on multiple corporate offsite visits to further enhance their real-world operating experience. In lieu of their regularly-scheduled monthly meeting, the class first visited UBS Financial services in downtown Chicago and then proceeded to JB Industries in Aurora.
Advice Beyond the Classroom is not only meant to teach theory on various professional topics but, more importantly, help build business relationships with working professionals who can act as a mentor or potential employer for their future opportunities.
The ABC program provides students with the ability to have complete discretion over the class syllabus. At the beginning of the year, twenty topics were offered and the top nine voted by the students ultimately structured the curriculum. The students are empowered to choose what they deem time worthy and take ownership in the class content. The top-two ranked course subjects were: Personal Financial Literacy and Employer vs. Employee: Owning and Operating a Small Business. Since these topics had such a high level of interest, The ABC program decided to host these sessions onsite to further enhance the overall learning experience.
At 7:45 a.m. on their day off, 20 students met at St. Rita to begin their onsite learning experience. Dave Conrath, Mike Gallagher, and Paul LoMaglio were gracious enough to chaperone the all-day trip. The first sessions started promptly at 9:00 a.m. as the class made their way into UBS Financial Services to hear from different partners within the world's largest Wealth Management firm.
Nick LoMaglio '04, a Vice President with UBS, brought in three different partners that specialized in the following disciplines: personal financial planning, money management for pro athletes, and prudent investment strategies for the long-term investor. The students learned basic investing strategies and further developed a better appreciation for the importance that investing early in life can have over the long-term wealth creation process.
After breakfast, the class jumped on the twin St. Rita school buses and made the hour-long trek to Aurora to gain firsthand experience on how a small business operates. Nick repeatedly preaches to his students that small businesses are the growth engine of America's GDP. There they were greeted by Paul Dachota '84, current Chief Financial Officer of JB Industries. Paul organized a jam-packed onsite class session that consisted of presentations from: Jeff Cherif (founder and CEO of JB Industries) and a full tour of the 250,000 square foot plant led by head engineer Dave Madden. JB Industries is a market leader in HVAC products and holds the unique distinction of being able to say their products are "Made in America." Approximately 90% of their product is either made onsite or through other US based companies.
What made this day truly special is that the students were able to network their way into two companies potentially seeking to hire future interns for various roles. Approximately 12 of the students are interested in finance or economics as a college major, with another six looking to study engineering. This one day of onsite meetings has now provided them with a network rolodex of business professional, who are acting in a hiring capacity for future opportunities.
Every month the student's performances are ranked from 1-22. At the end of the year, the top four students will receive a summer externship at UBS Financial Services. In addition, the top 2 seniors will receive college scholarships, the top performing junior is granted a position as Teacher's Aid for next year's class (currently held by Teddy McDermott), and the top sophomore will receive an automatic bid into next year's class. Regardless of their year in school, every student is competing for a coveted reward at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 class. As of February's class, here are the current student rankings:
The Top Four Overall:
1. Dominic Sarro
2. Trevor Scianna
3. TJ DeCesare
4. Ed Hennessey
The Top Junior:
The Top Sophmore:
A big thank you to Paul Dachota and our chaperones for taking the time to make this all possible.
For any inquiries into the Advice Beyond the Classroom program, please contact St. Rita High School at (773) 925-6600.