Treasurer Pieciak and Vermont Education Leaders Attend Personal Finance Course at Winooski High School | Office of the State Treasurer Skip to main content

Treasurer Pieciak and Vermont Education Leaders Attend Personal Finance Course at Winooski High School

June 6, 2024

Winooski, VT – Treasurer Pieciak joined Vermont-NEA President Don Tinney, Champlain College Director of the Center for Financial Literacy John Pelletier, and local stakeholders today at award-winning teacher Courtney Poquette’s Personal Finance course at Winooski High School. After a semester learning various financial topics—from budgeting and saving to investing and managing credit card debt—Ms. Poquette’s students each presented their budget and plan for the future, their final assignment for the course. 

Treasurer Pieciak said, “Financial education is critical for preparing young Vermonters to navigate adulthood and make informed decisions about their future, but only a fraction of Vermont public schools offer a personal finance course. Sitting in on Ms. Poquette’s class, I’m inspired by her students’ passion and enthusiasm for these concepts, which they will carry with them through their lives. To support financial equity in our state, we need to ensure all Vermont students have access to these opportunities.” 

A recent study found that a one-semester financial literacy course can boost an individual’s lifetime savings by $100,000. While Vermont does not require financial literacy as a high school graduation requirement, Winooski is one of 13 public schools in the state to offer the course.  

During the 2023-24 Vermont legislative session, lawmakers considered H.228, a bill that would have made financial literacy a high school graduation requirement in Vermont public schools. Despite recent polling indicating widespread support among Vermonters for financial education, the bill did not earn a vote out of committee. 

"Personal Finance is the class that everyone tells me they wish they had when they were in school,” said Courtney Poquette. “In Winooski, we guarantee that every student has access to this critical education. Today our class was excited to welcome a variety of stakeholders from around the state, and students were proud to share why this education is so important, as they presented their financial plans for the future." 

Amira Mohamed-Oussaid, a senior at Winooski High School, said Ms. Poquette’s personal finance course helped reshape her approach to money management and build confidence. “Taking a personal finance class has changed the way I manage my money and has given me the confidence to take control of my finances. I strongly believe that personal finance should be implemented into every high school curriculum because by doing so, we can prepare the next generation for success, ensuring that they are not left to navigate financial hardships without guidance.” 

John Pelletier, Director of the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, worries that without a financial education requirement in high schools, Vermont students are at a disadvantage. “Vermonters think about money everyday, whether they’re earning, saving, or spending. The Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy projects that by 2030, half of U.S. states will require personal finance to graduate high school. I’m concerned Vermont’s high school graduates will continue to fall behind. Ms. Poquette’s class is leading the way in our state, helping students plan for the future and changing lives.” 

For more information and tips about managing money, visit the Treasurer’s Office’s personal finance resource page here