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Students get lessons in finances at academy

January 20, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Learning how to make proper introductions, shake hands with a firm grip and acknowledge seniority is an essential part of business as usual for South Hagerstown High School Academy of Finance students.

Sharon Chirgott, school system academy director, said the 21 students in the academy have a wide range of career interests, from law and education to day care and the media.

Junior Mark Brown, 16, said he wants to be a sportscaster.

"You've got to learn different parts of the business before you can commentate on it," he said.

The students are preparing to go on a field trip to the New York Stock Exchange in May as part of the academy's membership in the National Academy Foundation.

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Chirgott said next year's students will be required to take the foundation's curriculum, which includes Introduction to Financial Services, Banking and Credit, Economics and the World of Finance as another part of its national membership.

Sharon Hogan, academy teacher, said she will teach economics for the first time next semester, but now she teaches students to balance checkbooks, balance budgets and invest.

Students learn expertise from guest speakers like Matt Hobby, 20, a Williamsport High School graduate and a Towson University junior, who told them about networking opportunities at college.

"A lot of times business people are trained to be middle management," he said. "Why not aim to have the Ferrari? Why not aim to be the CEO?"

The other four Washington County Public Schools' academies are The Academy of Manufacturing and Engineering Technology at Williamsport High School, The Academy of Pre-Engineering and Computer-Assisted Drafting and Design at Williamsport, The Fire and Rescue Academy at Washington County Technical High School and The Academy of Medical Careers at North Hagerstown High School. Students who join any of the five academies also join the school with which it is affiliated.

Students are required to have at least a 2.5 grade-point average and must do an internship in their senior year.

Hogan told the students, "Find your passion - that is what we're trying to help you do here."

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