School district's finance class a requirement for seniors

PASCO, WA - Pasco School District is one of only two school districts in the Tri-Cities that requires passing a financial literacy class to graduate, and is the only one to offer college credit for that class.

It's almost time for high school graduations. Seniors are now preparing to set off into the real world. Many, with no knowledge of how to buy a car, get a job, or even balance a budget.

Chiawana High School teacher, Ms. Leighty has been teaching financial literacy in Pasco for seven years - for juniors, seniors and even some sophomores. 

"Most of the students, 80 percent of them have never had a job interview before,"Leighty said.  

Students learn everything from taxes, mortgages, getting a job, how to budget and how to manage a credit card.

Not only is this class valuable - it's been a requirement to graduate in Pasco for several years. 

Leighty said the class is something the students will take with them forever. 

"It just almost makes me cry sometimes because my students come back to me later on and say, 'oh my gosh, your the class, everybody should take because it is so important and it is,' " Leighty said. 

For students now, even their parents are impressed with what they are learning at such a young age. 

"They were really surprised when they found out I knew how to do this stuff because they didn't get the opportunity. We get to actually know about these things, they didn't get to learn anything about taxes they just kind of winged it," Genesis Garcia, Chiawana High School student said. 

For Leighty, it is teaching these kids skills that she hopes they will use forever that means so much to her.

"If we can start young with these kiddos and let them know hey you guys need to be looking at this hopefully we can help some people be financially responsible," Leighty said. 

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