Gering High School seniors will learn real-world applicable knowledge through a personal finance course, which is now a state mandated requirement for graduation.
The Nebraska Legislature adopted the Financial Literacy Act, LB 452, which provides graduation requirements and academic content standards. The bill states school districts across the state must enact the course by 2023-24 school year and make it a graduation requirement. Gering Public Schools has offered a financial literacy course as an elective, so they decided to take it on a year early.
Joann Wilson is one of three personal finance teachers at the high school. Wilson has taught personal finance for 23 years. There are 90 students enrolled in the course for the fall semester.
“If they walk out of our building and not know anything about how much of a slippery slope credit can be, they are going to be working paycheck to paycheck, stuck in jobs to pay off debt that they don’t like and we just want a better, brighter future for them,” Wilson told the Star-Herald. “We want them to be debt free.”
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Seniors Bella Longoria and Katelyn Peterson are currently enrolled in the semester course this fall.
“I was planning on taking it regardless of the requirement because I wanted to better learn how to finance myself for college next year,” Peterson said.
The same could not be said for Longoria, she admits.
“It definitely wasn’t one of my first picks, but I’m glad I took it,” Longoria said. “I have learned a lot so far in the past two weeks.”
So far the students have worked through an introductory chapter about the key concepts of finance that they will build on throughout the semester.
Seniors learned they would have to take the course their senior year near the end of last school year.
“Honestly, it was a bit of shock hearing that it was our final year and it had not been a prerequisite up until this year,” Peterson said. “It was definitely a bit of frustration having to fit into our already jam-packed schedules our senior year. But I understand why they’re doing it.”
Longoria said the news did require a change of plans with her schedule, but she said the course has already helped her set financial goals, like saving money so she can purchase her first home by the year 2027.
Wilson also set a goal to help demonstrate how to work toward a goal and how to budget for it. She wants to repair her garage.
Longoria said she is interested in learning about controlling her spending and Peterson is interested …….