Should completing a personal finance course be a high school graduation requirement?

BUCKHANNON – April was financial literacy month and organizations across the country conduct a variety of events to help improve financial knowledge, especially with youth.

At Buckhannon-Upshur High School, instructor Christy Dean is working hard to make sure her students are financially savvy by offering lots of ways to learn about finances.

“I have started putting things on the televisions in the commons area and I am putting things on our county website page,” Dean said. “These activities will tie into my finance class.”

Dean said she encourages her students to have conversations with their parents and said students really need to know about finances before they venture from high school to college, the workforce or the military.

“In my classes, we do everything people do as adults,” Dean said. “They learn about careers and finding jobs, how to read their paychecks and how to do personal income taxes. They learn to do simple taxes and how to keep and balance a checking account.”

Dean’s students learn about budgets and they get to dabble in investing by playing the stock market game.

“The kids enjoy learning about the stock market – they get to invest $100,000 of virtual money,” Dean said. “Currently, we are learning about buying a home or renting an apartment, buying a car or leasing a car and we will talk about being good consumers and what rights consumers possess.”

Another important topic covered in Dean’s classes is insurance.

“We also include learning about estate planning and planning for retirement,” Dean said. “I usually have a lot of games we can play and we usually have lots of guest speakers – but the pandemic has really limited our ability to do that this year.”

Although West Virginia does not currently require graduating seniors to complete a class in personal finance, Dean said there has been talk in the past to require students to complete a half credit in the subject.

“I think there should be a requirement for students to learn about these important items before they head out of high school,” Dean said.

Kaylie Reed, a B-UHS junior, said this is her first year taking the personal finance class. She is taking the class because she feels it will greatly help in her future endeavors.

“I did not really understand finances before and this class is helping me learn all about them,” Kaylie said.

Ashley Catlin, a B-UHS sophomore, said she completed the personal finance class last year.

“The class taught me about writing checks and keeping a checking account,” Ashley said. “I learned about lots of things especially how to rent an apartment, get a loan to buy a house and how to purchase a vehicle. I think the class has helped me prepare for the future.”

Both said they felt personal finance class should be required of all graduating students to teach them things they will need to know.

“I think people who do not understand finances end up getting into debt because they do not understand budgeting,” Ashley said.

Additional information about the personal finance class is available by emailing Dean at

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