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Burbank High School senior Jackie Nazarian found that working with Excel, learning how to invest in stocks and creating a personal job portfolio the most valuable skills she learned in the program.
The core of the Burbank High School Academy of Finance are the classes taken during the last two years of school. Business ethics and financial planning are studied as a junior. Basic accounting and a course in Economics, along with government, are taken as a senior.
The Academy of Finance program also includes field trips, guest speakers from leaders in local business, government and finance, career preparation and a required 150 hours paid internship, typically completed during the summer between junior and senior year.
Senior Chandler Robbins completed his internship this past summer with Toluca Lake-based home loan bank Augusta Financial. In addition to learning proper workplace etiquette and office skills, he also “learned the ins and outs of the loan business.”
“I learned that becoming a loan officer was not for me,” he said, “but more importantly, I learned something about myself and my future.”
The Academy of Finance has been in place at BHS since 1992 and over 2000 students have graduated from the program with a certificate in Financial Studies. The Academy averages 150 students yearly and is taught by Alyson Edge and Patricia Garfield.
The academic, finance and technology based program also prepares students for job interviews, including instruction in and application of proper business dress, interview preparation, resume building and public speaking.
“It really is great teaching that allows these kinds of programs to flourish and develop in our district,” commented Sharon Cuseo, BUSD Director of Instruction and Accountability.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for kids to get business experience,” Board of Education member Larry Applebaum told the Academy of Finance students. “Whatever you learn here is going to help you.”
“Alyson and I feel so privileged to continue to be a part of this amazing program,” Garfield said. “We believe that teens should not only be empowered to make financial-related decisions once they leave home, but be able to start making better financial choices almost immediately.”
“Whenever either of us talks about what we teach – whether with family, friends, acquaintances or strangers – we are always met with a similar response,” Garfield added. “It goes something like this: ‘I wish they had those classes at my kid’s school. Heck, I need those classes. Our country needs those classes.’”