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Personal finance made graduation requirement

Vivian Peng / The SPOKE

By Vivian Peng, Staff Reporter

Currently, only half of U.S. states require high school students to successfully complete a personal financial class. Pennsylvania is the most recent state to institute this requirement.

The State Senate passed Bill 843 on Dec. 13, making Pennsylvania the 25th state to require a stand-alone personal finance course worth at least half a credit in all high schools.

The school board education committee is working on implementing the change into Conestoga’s curriculum. The graduation requirement will take effect in the 2026-27 school year and will affect current freshmen and all future graduating classes.

Personal finance teacher Bernadette D’Emilio believes Conestoga’s current personal finance course meets all requirements issued by the law.

“I think that we should continue teaching exactly what we’re teaching, and I think that Mr. Pezzano, Mr. Conner and I are perfectly equipped to do it,” D’Emilio said. “We’re just going to add some more kids in here — that’s it.”

A personal finance course is currently open to all grades at Conestoga. It covers topics including credit, taxes, bank accounts and insurance.

“I think (finance class) is important,” said freshman Soumika Ponugoti, who took personal finance last semester. “I learned a lot about credit scores and bank accounts.”

According to D’Emilio, the school board has not yet determined the specifics of how the bill will be implemented at Conestoga.

“I don’t know if the board will say (students) have to take it in ninth grade or have to take it in 10th grade or 11th,” D’Emilio said.

Students currently must fulfill a Business/Technology credit by their graduation, which the personal finance course currently fulfills. The school board has not yet determined whether personal finance will still fulfill this credit once it becomes a separate requirement.

D’Emilio worries that students will be less likely to take other Business/Technology courses if personal finance meets the new state requirement.

“Although I say I want kids to take (personal finance), I also don’t want it to limit their ability to take other classes,” D’Emilio said. “It fulfills their Business/Tech credit, and so they might not take an engineering class or a TV class, and maybe they didn’t know that they would have loved to be in TV.”

D’Emilio strongly supports the law and believes that having financial knowledge early is important. D’Emilio said that finances are hard to manage and easy to mess up.

“I think that we as a country will benefit from this because the more people know about personal finances, the better off we’ll be,” D’Emilio said. “Knowledge is a kind of power, and it’s for the good of society too.”

Vivian Peng can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Vivian Peng
Vivian Peng, Staff Reporter
Vivian Peng is a sophomore and a Staff Reporter for The Spoke. She has covered news stories and sports games in the past. She’s a member of Conestoga Science Olympiad and likes to paint in her free time.