Ryan Harris, Denver Bronco Super Bowl 50 champion and author of “Mindset for Mastery: An NFL Champion’s Guide to Reaching Your Greatness,” visited Niwot High School upperclassmen on February 13 to discuss financial literacy and goal setting with the students. Since retiring from the NFL, Harris has shifted his career to focus on financial literacy education programming.
St. Vrain Valley Schools weaves financial literacy education into curriculum for all grade levels. In 2016-2017, the St. Vrain Valley Schools Student Advisory Council met with district leadership to advocate for a standalone class to cover topics such as money management, financial planning, credit and debt, taxes, and risk management. Based on student input, the Board of Education voted to add financial literacy to St. Vrain graduation requirements starting with the class of 2021, this year’s current junior class.
While sporting his Super Bowl 50 championship ring, Harris spoke to Niwot High sophomores, juniors, and seniors about financial goal setting. He shared his experiences in the NFL and highlighted how money management, or lack of, has significantly impacted players’ financial situations. The majority of NFL players go bankrupt in retirement because they have not planned for their future; a common mistake among players is making high dollar purchases.
Niwot High School social studies and financial literacy teacher, Lyle Tucker, emphasized the value of students learning from guest speakers. “Students are able to connect and retain more information from stories. Storytelling can be a powerful way to teach and inspire. The speakers bring relevance into the classroom.”
Harris covered themes including the importance of saving for retirement, the difference between the price vs. cost of a purchase, the benefit of delaying purchases, and choosing a positive mentality. Harris spoke about some of his own disappointments in life, including his early release from the Denver Broncos in 2010, but how these failures ultimately set him forward. He shifted his attitude to an “I am a Champion” mentality and went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Houston Texans, and the Kansas City Chiefs, before heading back to the Broncos to win the Super Bowl. “Everyone faces obstacles – what differentiates you and your success is how you handle them,” said Harris.
Harris’s presentation made an impact on the students. NHS Junior, Hannah Piersol, said, “Ryan Harris’s presentation opened my eyes to the idea of one’s money mindset. The way we think about spending and saving will impact our financial stability throughout our lives.”