Green students get start on #8216;survival skills#8217;

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 22, 2008

Two hundred years ago, young adults going out into the world relied on some vital life skills that were needed to survive in a harsh and unforgiving world.

How do you fire a musket? What is the best time to plant a crop? What is the best trade in which to seek an apprenticeship? How do you raise animals?

Although the skills have changed drastically, the youth of today need education about life in order to be successful.

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Nationally and here in Ohio, the education system has started to recognize this and schools are required to find ways to convey these Life 101 lessons. And local students are embracing — and excelling — at this.

Green High School business teacher Mindy Clark began teaching financial services two years ago as part of the Ohio College Tech Prep program and combined with the accounting classes.

The first year it was offered, seven students were enrolled in the class. The enrollment for this upcoming school year is approximately 50 students.

“The goal is to focus on student success and workforce development from high school to college to career,” Clark said. “These skills are survival skills. I remember when I went to college, I had to ask my parents how to balance my check book. If it were not for my parents, no one would have helped me,” she said.

“In Financial Services, we talk about budgeting, banking, checking, investments, interest rates, insurance, taxes, payroll, bankruptcy, and accounting. These skills are necessary in order to survive in today’s economy.”

The students really got involved by asking questions, getting first-hand experience and meeting people that shared their perspectives, Clark said.

Next year at Green, all juniors will take a Financial Services class to add to their Academic Content Standards but some decided they were ready to get a jumpstart.

At the end of the year, Clark encouraged all the students to take the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s inaugural National Financial Literacy Challenge, a new initiative recommended by the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.

President George W. Bush created the council in January to help keep America competitive and assist the American people in understanding and addressing financial matters.

Green High School had 11 students who scored in the top 25th percentile of the nation’s scores and will be recognized later this year.

Those students are: Brittany Blevins, Jeffery Coyle, Brad Craft, Nich Gayheart, Jacob Ison, Cassie King, Allison McCoy, Matt Schiesser, Jared Shearer, Mary Selbeeand Michael Holtzapfel.

The Challenge was offered online, and focused on 35 questions about basic personal finance and how this applies in real-world situations.

“I am very proud of the students at GHS for their performance on the National Financial Literacy Challenge Exam. The test was optional. All the questions on the exam were situational questions so they had to know how to apply the method,” Clark said. “… I knew the students at Green could do it but we were competing against over 46,000 students. I am extremely proud of all of their hard work and dedication.”

These students and educators — and all the others in Lawrence County — deserve praise for going above and beyond when it comes to providing a quality education and taking advantage of opportunities.

Education that allows success in life is truly the most valuable gift anyone can give or receive.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at