JHS Course Teaches Personal Finance

Amy Schultze (right), accompanied by 2014 JHS graduate and Shults Nissan Subaru business manager Austin Harmon (left), goes over the process of buying a car with her class during a recent field trip to the dealership.

Prior to teaching, Amy Schultze helped run her family business — a local hardware store — where she aimed to help customers build their own toolbelt.

Now a Jamestown High School business teacher, she’s energized by the chance to help the next generation of JHS students build their “financial toolbelt” and earn college credit in the process.

Schultze teaches BUS 1610 – Personal Finance at Jamestown High School, a course available through SUNY Jamestown Community College’s College Connections program and designed to “provide students with the necessary tools to achieve financial success.”

“Students create a ‘tool belt’ that is personalized based on their own financial goals,” Schultze said. “We discuss the importance of setting short, mid-range, and long-term goals and each learner’s goals vary based on what they deem as being financially successful. The key takeaway from this course: it’s not what you make, it’s what you save.”

The course also encapsulates a variety of other aspects such as the difference between savings versus investing; simple versus compound interest; and the differences between scholarships, loans, and grants. They’ll also participate in Junior Achievement’s WNY Fall 2022 Stock Market Challenge during November.

Field experience has also been of the utmost importance to Schultze: in September, students visited Northwest Bank to learn about the importance of building relationships with your local bank; in early October, they attended a New York state sponsored career fair and heard from partners at Jamestown Business College about the importance of completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); and most recently, they learned about the rudiments of buying and maintaining a car from representatives at Shults Auto Group and learned about the importance of managing one’s finances during a visit to Summit Wealth Management.

Field trips are also scheduled to The Legend Group and Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union later in the semester.

“My hope for all students is that they are able to fill their ‘financial tool belt’ for current and future usage,” Schultze said.

“For instance, students may not be ready to purchase their first vehicle today. But hopefully by the time they’re done with the class, between the research, activities, and field trip to Shults Nissan Subaru, they’ll feel a little more familiar with the car buying process.”

That field experience was particularly meaningful for JHS sophomore Owen Caswell.

“My favorite thing so far has been learning about car loans,” he said. “It’s important to me because I’ll be getting my permit soon and while there are some aspects of car buying that are familiar to me, there’s a lot that I’ve learned that I’ll need to consider during that process.

Caswell has also appreciated Schultze’s insight in the classroom.

“She’s a friendly teacher and she’s created a great environment in the classroom,” he said. “She makes learning about this stuff fun.”

“The whole class has been very educational about what to expect as an adult,” he concluded.

“As we send our students out and into the world, I just want them to be prepared,” Schultze said. ” I refer to a quote from (American financier) Suze Orman that ‘making it in America means you are able to sleep at night, and not worry when you get up in the morning how are you going to pay your bills. … Smile for the things that you have, not for the things you wish you did.”


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