MOHS junior Freddy Huang works in the financial literacy lab

Mount Olive High School’s new financial literacy lab is putting the high-tech tools of finance at students’ fingertips. Outfitted with laptops, big screen monitors, and a digital stock ticker that spans the back wall, the renovated classroom was ready for business in early December after the final technology upgrades were made and new furnishings installed.

The financial lab is used by students in Finance Honors, Accounting I, Accounting II Honors, and AP Economics. Walk into the room on any given day and you might see students researching companies and completing simulated stock
trades. Or you could see students analyzing in real-time how world events and economic decisions affect global markets, or comparing interest rates and gross domestic products of various countries.

The financial services and banking industries run on data and analytics. The courses in the financial lab train students on what to look for, where to find it, and how to process it. The school also subscribes to several professional services which provide the same type of real-time information and financial instruments used by experts.

“When kids come into my class, they know that even if they don’t plan on pursuing a career in finance, what they’re learning is valuable and has real-life applications,” said business teacher David Silverstein. “They understand the importance of it. I always say that school trains students to work for money, but my classes teach students how to get money to work for them.”

Mount Olive High School has made technology and innovation its touchstone; the financial literacy lab represents an opportunity for students to explore a high-tech career pathway of a vastly different kind than others available in the building.

“When you think about science, computer coding, and math, finance doesn’t necessarily spring to mind,” said Dr. Robert Zywicki, superintendent of schools. “However, those competencies are indispensable to careers in the banking and investment sectors. In the new lab, students learn to use technology to access mountains of real-time data and run sophisticated analytics, then put their critical thinking skills to use to process it all. As an added benefit, they also see the value of managing their money well. That’s a life skill that everyone could use.”

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