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Buckhannon-Upshur High School’s finance classes aim to empower students for life after graduation

TENNERTON — In the halls of Buckhannon-Upshur High School, students are gaining more than just academic knowledge; they are acquiring valuable life skills that will shape their future.

Instructor Christy Dean, an advocate for practical education, teaches courses focused on finance. These classes are not just about balancing budgets and understanding tax forms; they are about preparing students for the real-world challenges that lie ahead, according to Dean.

“I teach several courses that pertain to finance — Introduction to Finance is for grades 9 and 10, and Personal Finance is for grades 11 and 12,” she said. “The intro course is an intro to personal finance.”

In her classes, students delve into a myriad of topics, from banking and investing to credit, loans, and estate planning.

“Topics include banking (checking and savings accounts), investing, credit, loans, paying for college, careers, insurance, taxes, budgeting, consumer skills, and estate planning,” Dean explained. “As much as possible, I have students complete forms that pertain to the topic.”

For example, when students learn about careers and employment, students complete job applications and W-4 forms.

“Students also work on writing checks and learning to reconcile their accounts,” she said. “As they learn about income taxes, students complete a Form 1040. They get to see credit card statements, loan applications or job postings. They gain knowledge about purchasing a car or leasing a car by working through a project. They gain knowledge of buying a home or renting a home.”

“The impact of these courses extends beyond the classroom,” Dean added. “Students are eager to share about opening a checking account and knowing how to write checks. They are eager to share that they knew what to do with employment papers or typing a resume or cover letter.”

The relevance of Mrs. Dean’s courses is underscored by their direct correlation to adult life, she said.

“Students want their learning to be something they will use,” she emphasized. “My courses fall into that category. Students have ideas about what they want to do or have in life as they grow into adults. My courses can help them learn steps to making those ideas a reality.”

As the community eagerly anticipates the upcoming tax season, Dean hinted at a valuable community service that could benefit both taxpayers and high schoolers.

“Stay tuned for upcoming information about the VITA tax program with Buckhannon-Upshur High School Students in these classes,” she said.

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