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Home of the Delta Kings

Stagg Online

Staff believe STEP prize money should benefit the students

STEP posted this image on their Instagram to announce the winners of their competition on April 4th 2023.

This April, Stagg took first place in a competition held by STEP against more than 100 schools and was rewarded with a festival and $25,000 for the school’s benefit. 


STEP is a free financial literacy program that helps students under 18. STEP helps guide young adults to manage their money and plan for their future in the financial aspect. According to Step’s website, the program is supposed to help build credit, invest, save and spend. 


In order for any school to win the STEPFEST and the prize money, they had to get as many students to sign up with a sponsor. The school with the most sign-ups would receive the prize. 


Stagg participated in this competition with Associated Student Body (ASB) help. They promoted the app and showed what our school could win by having the most student sign ups.


Nevaeh Torres-Gann is the Senior class president and is also a part of ASB. Gann was sent to speak on behalf of Hien Nguyen, the ASB advisor. Torres-Gann stated that the ASB advisor, Hien Nguyen’s attention was caught when she saw that Chavez High School had won the year before. 


“That caught [Nguyen’s] attention, so then she brought it up to our principal and they got it situated.” Torres-Gann said.


The fact that a school so close like Chavez had the chance in participating and winning this competition had given ASB hope and excitement for Stagg to win. “We were influenced by the idea and what we could potentially win, and I did believe Stagg was going to win if we advertised it enough.” she stated.


ASB focused on getting the attention of students and informing them on what STEP was, as well as trying to get students to sign-up. “We created a presentation to give to each class, we created instagram ads, we reposted what STEP would post,” she said 


As well as saying “We just made it known to our school that this was what we wanted and what we could get.” 


This gave students more motivation to sign-up and get the word out to their classmates.

As a result our school started to move higher and higher on the list of schools competing. 


And as Stagg got closer to winning, ASB and teachers started promoting the contest more and more. Teachers like Coach Rosslyn Halekakis started to give assignment credits to the students that would sign-up in her class.


“I stressed the importance of trying to win this for all of our Stagg student body, so in every single period I stopped class and brought PE classes into the gym to stress the importance of signing-up.” Halekakis stated. She used the assignment credits as leverage to get more sign-ups, and this was done with all the PE classes.


“My motivation also was if you sign-up and show me you have a sponsor, *boom* I gave them 100 on the mile run, and all of our PE teachers did that.” she said.


Another big promoter was teacher Joy Rialubin Trejo, she personally reached out and made parents feel more comfortable in sponsoring their children. Speaking on her Ethnic Studies class, Trejo was able to get at least one student to sign up this way. “He ended up getting signed up because I reached out personally and told them to do it,” Trejo said.


Teachers also had the chance to sponsor students and this was something Halekakis and Trejo took advantage of. Both teachers sponsored the max amount of students they could, which was four.


ASB council and Advisor Hien Nyuen on stage holding Stagg STEPFEST reward. (Jada Murray/StaggOnline)


In the end, Stagg won STEPFEST and the $25,000 for the school. And although there is no set decision for the money, Stagg staff and its principal Brett Toliver believe it should be put towards the students and for improvements around our school.


Toliver believes that besides the benefit the money will have on the school, the competition overall and the competing aspect helped the school gain more school spirit. The STEP competition proved that it’s possible to come together as a school and win something for all of the students here.  


“I think it’s been a good outcome for us to have won this, I think it shows the pride and dedication of our students here at Stagg highschool,” Toliver stated.


Toliver stated that our buildings were some of the oldest of the comprehensive highschools in Stockton unified. He made it a point that the money should go to better student life here at Stagg. “I think the money that we have can go towards a wide variety of things to improve student life and student culture,” he said.


He also stated that he would like to hear the student’s opinion on what the money should go to. “My question would be more or less what do the students want and what would the alumni of Stagg highschool find validation in providing,” he said.


Toliver stated that the alumni’s opinion would be looked into because he knows that they look out for what will help future students of Stagg. “I’m not seeking it out but I would take the alumni’s opinion if they had some,” he said. 


Toliver did say some ideas were out on the table which were also not made clear as to what they were. “I don’t have a plan, we have ideas on the table but it has been my focus as we are getting towards the end of the school year,” he said. 

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