For many, the senior year of high school holds a nostalgic allure as the last year “kids can be kids” before the rush of the adult world swirls around them. Although there are still plenty of fun activities and memory-making at Cal Hills, the senior class is squarely focused on preparing for the future that they will create. Through hands-on and highly relevant lessons in both Economics and English, students are getting a taste of what awaits them after graduation.
“I feel that the flexibility in English lends itself to this career preparation unit perfectly,” says instructor Tabitha Kappeler-Hurley. “The students in my class started with identifying major life goals such as whether or not they wanted to be married and have families, what type of lifestyle they wanted to have, and then researched careers that fit their interests, skills, and budgetary needs. Students then created résumés, cover letters and participated in mock interviews with HR professionals from MUSD and the community.”
Students built their listening, speaking, reading and writing competencies as they practiced the practical skills related to searching for and obtaining a job. They will finish the unit by creating individual vision boards they can reference well beyond graduation.
In Economics, instructor Megan Bence has constructed an entire quarter surrounding personal finance and the skills necessary for managing money responsibly. “We started this quarter by learning the basics of personal finance, and budgeting. Students are currently working on an extensive budgeting assignment where they project their incomes, and goals in regards to community college or four-year institutions. They’re looking into the costs of higher education, how to apply for financial aid, and what their fixed and flexible expenses will approximately cost. If they go over budget, they then have to reassess how much they’re spending,” says Ms. Bence.
Students are being encouraged to take a realistic look at what adult life will soon look for them. They’re asking themselves tough questions - will you be relying on your parents for financial support, how much does rent cost in the Bay Area, and what are you striving for five years down the line? Ms. Bence says, “Students are facing a harsh reality right now - the majority of my class went over budget the first time they tracked their spending. I think they’re starting to realize that they won’t be able to live off of minimum wage on their own, which I can only hope will continue to motivate them to push for fulfilling careers.”
As Ms. Bence’s Economics class progresses, they will also be filing taxes, discussing tips for saving and the importance of retirement plans, learning how to invest in the stock market, and acting as if they are the financial advisors for other professionals. Students will also be given the option to download free applications on their cell phones for budgeting and investing, tying in their most-used devices efficiently and effectively as tools for success.
Ms. Kappeler-Hurley and Ms. Bence have similar goals for their kids: prepare students for future success with graduation right around the corner.