Baylor Tour

Baylor Tour
Posted on 12/13/2017

So many of our field trips involve leaving town. Sometimes it’s heading to Arlington to take the financial tour of AT&T Stadium, other times it may mean heading to Ft. Worth to visit the Bureau of Engraving and Printing but I think it’s easy to forget about all of the incredible local resources we have right here in Waco.  On Thursday November 30th, 17 FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) students from University High School had the opportunity to take a field trip around town and get a small peak into just a few of the great things Waco has to offer.  These are the same students that continue to complete thousands of tax returns, free of charge, for the community year after year and also the same students that work the Trojan Branch of Educators Credit Union located on campus.

Their morning began with a tour of Baylor’s beautiful Armstrong Browning Library.  The students were blown away and loved hearing the stories behind the art work, including the stained glass windows and architecture and many commented that they couldn’t believe something like this existed in Waco and couldn’t wait to come back with their families. Our tour guide, Justin, a music major and grad student, was talked into singing for us in the McLean Foyer of Meditation only to be outdone by two of University’s choir students, Alanis Ramos and Jennifer Hernandez, who sang an acapella version of Oceans by Hillsong United. 

From there we walked over to tour the Hankamer Business School.  We were fortunate enough to have Amy Rhodes, who is the manager of new student recruitment and admissions, as our tour guide.  She was really great.  She showed the students everything that Baylor’s business school has to offer and was even able to have Mark Dunn, the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, speak with the kids for a bit and offer some words of praise and encouragement.  Despite finals being right around the corner, our students were able to sit in on an accounting class and ask questions to the instructor and students.  Chris Cazares, an 11th grader, said, “My favorite part was seeing all of the technology that they use at the Business School.  I was so impressed by how the students were studying and helping each other to achieve their goals.  They had impressive classrooms and study rooms. I was surprised to learn about this new program called S3 (sports, sponsorships, and sales).  The whole experience has encouraged me to attend college and maybe major in marketing.”  Salma Barrientos (12th Grade) shared a similar point of view when she stated, “The most enjoyable part of the tour was being able to see the new building for the business school.  I was really impressed by the new technology and how well designed the building was and how much space it had for the students to prepare for class and special projects.” Alanis Ramos (12th Grade) said, “The whole experience from the business school to the Armstrong Browning Library has inspired me to further my education in music and business, hopefully at Baylor University.”

After stuffing our faces for over an hour in Penland Dining Hall we continued on to part two of our tour which was Central National Bank, Central Texas’ largest independently owned bank.  Our tour was led by Bryan Fonville, Assistant Vice President and Director of Marketing for Central National Bank, who also played a key role in the formation of Waco’s Bank District.  While the students sat around the boardroom table, Bryan was kind enough to have Molly Rieger, a loan officer who also serves as the bank’s Chief Credit Officer and Carolyn Haferkamp, President and Real Estate & Commercial Lending Officer, speak to the kids about the importance of a good credit score, borrowing and saving money, and stressed just how big of an impact the contents of a person’s social media page(s) can have on their ability to be hired at a place like Central National Bank.  They were able to walk through the credit department, see customer service, walk in and visit with the drive thru tellers, and even saw the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and coin inside the vault.  The bank tour was so great I don’t even think we remembered to take any pictures.  

The students had an incredible time and even a week later as I write this, it’s all they want to talk about.  Field trips like this leave a positive and long lasting impression on our students and show them a very real and possible future for themselves.  These trips are the result of a lot of people working together who are willing to share their time and resources and who all agree that education is the best investment we can make in our young people; especially the education that comes from more than just books.  On behalf of myself, the students, and the teachers in the Academy of Finance here at University High School, I want to say a very sincere ”Thank You” to everyone who contributes and supports to make experiences like this possible for our students.

For more information about our academy, please visit:

Angelo Ochoa