Emma Albertoni, 18, is a senior at Ralston Valley High School in Arvada, who is doing much more than just studying. Albertoni, a Girl Scout for the past 12 years, recently completed her Gold Award project earning her the highest honor in Girls Scouts. Albertoni’s Gold Award project also won her the recognition of being named one of Colorado’s top youth volunteers of 2017 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. This is a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. As a State Honoree, Albertoni will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C. where she will join other national top honorees.
The Arvada Press sat down with the teenage newsmaker to talk about her accomplishments.
Tell us about your Gold Award project.
My gold award addresses financial literacy and education. I started out small, talking to the principal at my school and then the family consumer science class. I found a gap where that teacher didn’t have a financial safety online unit and so I created that from scratch. She’s teaching it now and vowed to teach it every year. I created a power point along with pre- and post-tests to show development through the unit. From there, I went on to propose my project to the Jeffco Board of Education. I asked them to make a financial literacy class for high school seniors. In schools right now, they teach some financial concepts, but not the applicability of it, how you can use it or what it means. After that, I met with curriculum department. They haven’t made a class yet, but they are looking at how they can teach it.
How did you come up with your project?
It was a struggle at first. Coming up with an idea was the hardest part for me. Around the time I was coming up with my project, I was 16. I had just gotten my license and looking for a car, looking at budgeting and talking to my parents about what a loan meant. My brother was also living on his own and trying to budget his money. And I realized I didn’t know any of this from school. In Algebra II, students are taught how to calculate interest; what they are not taught is how interest could affect their credit scores or how to figure interest into the cost of a purchase.
What did you learn from earning your Gold Award?
To me, I’m very proud of myself for completing it. It was a lot of work. I learned a lot about leading teams of volunteers and how volunteers need a little encouragement. And how you need to thank them. I learned a lot about working with authority figures as a high school student. I also learned a lot about time management, public speaking and presenting. It gave me a lot of confidence. I’m very proud of myself for overcoming the discouragement.
What does it mean to you to earn the Prudential Spirit of Community Award?
It’s just cool. I’m very excited to go to Washington because it puts all my work and stress and tears from the past two years into something that’s very fun and exciting.
As of January, I started a nonprofit based off my Gold Award project. The name is Down with Dough. My brother, Scott is my partner. The nonprofit will provide resources and help students become more financially sound and learn financial concepts to be more stable later on. One goal is to work with legislators to push a resolution for financial literacy in education. We’re in the early stages of working with Lang Sias toward this goal.
I’ve also been in the process of auditioning for music schools. I play violin. I’ve had three recorded auditions and three live auditions. I’m waiting to hear back to decide where I will go to college. I’m in the Valor Youth Symphony and in the pit orchestra for my school’s production of “The Little Mermaid.” I want to go into a music career field either education or therapy.