Mr. Thomas Driscoll’s Financial Fitness class recently received a generous grant of $5,000 from Next Gen Personal Finance.
Next Gen Personal Finance, or NGPF, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting personal finance education in high schools. Mr. Driscoll first heard about the organization from another teacher during an educator's workshop over the summer. He applied for the grant and was accepted about a month after.
In case you haven’t yet taken the course, Financial Fitness is a semester-long class that is offered at Beaver Area High School and taught by Mr. Driscoll. The class covers a wide variety of topics, including designing financial plans, budgeting, investing, the stock market, credit, banking, and insurance—all of which are subjects a student would absolutely need to know for their future.
The class recently became a mandatory course for Beaver Area High School students and satisfies the state’s standards for financial readiness. The school’s Financial Fitness course was chosen for the grant specifically because of this newly mandatory status.
“I think it should be absolutely mandatory for every high school student to learn [these topics]. Mainly because there’s no more pensions, so people are going to be responsible for their own finances, and their own retirements, and things like that,” explained Mr Driscoll.
And now, for the most important question: what will Mr. Driscoll be spending the money on?
“The first thing I’m going to do is this week: I’m going to order some checking account workbooks, which is this 40 page thing that explains exactly how to balance your checkbook, and then a bunch of simulations that go through reconciling or balancing the checkbook,” explained Mr. Driscoll.
“The rest of the money, I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with it yet. I’m either going to apply for some simulations that are on the internet, where you go through certain budgeting simulations. Or I might join the actual stock market game, which has bigger prizes than the free [version of the game] I use [in class], because they have a lot more resources.”
The money from this grant will be going to good use, and will most definitely be very appreciated by the Financial Fitness students.
“It would be enjoyable to have the real stock market game because it would make investing seem more real and give us a better incentive to actually play the game,” explained junior Lizzy Michael. “I’m very excited about the new resources; they can make the class more hands-on.”
The funding from the grant is valuable to students because it provides them with access to even more materials that directly represent real-world financial situations.
“A lot of kids now are taking [the class] because it’s mandatory, and a lot of them are just going through the motions and doing what they need to do to pass, because I don’t make it terribly difficult to pass—but I’ve had kids come back and send me emails saying that they wish they had paid more attention, and some that did pay attention send me emails saying they were glad they learned what I taught them,” Mr. Driscoll added.
“So the kids have an opportunity, and if they want to just get the credit they can, but this is really stuff that they’re absolutely going to need—and they’re going to regret not listening if they don’t,” Mr. Driscoll cautioned.