Michelle Haines recently began teaching Personal Family Finance to students at Newsome High School.

Students at Newsome High School in Lithia have the option of taking a new class this school year that could help them for the rest of their lives. Personal Family Finance, a Family and Consumer Science class through the Florida Department of Education, teaches students about many aspects of financial decision-making.

Teacher Michelle Haines approached her assistant principal to get the class on the school’s course selection list last year after teaching Senior Survival for eight years at Newsome.

“My county supervisor encourages us to continually teach relevant courses to our students, and Senior Survival’s curriculum includes an entire quarter of personal finance,” said Haines. “I was excited at the opportunity to teach a full semester course on the subject.”

During the class, students learn about the American economic system, financial decision-making, managing personal income, savings and investing with a focus on retirement, credit, banking, taxes, wills, insurance and contracts.

“We talk about one of the largest financial decisions they will make in the near future; college,” said Haines, who also teaches Nutrition and Wellness and Principles of Food and advises the FCCLA and Interact Clubs.

In addition, she hopes that the class will eventually be an option for the economics graduation requirement at the school.

“I hope that students will take a few financial nuggets with them into the future and hopefully one day remember, ‘Oh yeah, I learned how to do that in high school,’” said Haines.

The class is open to students in grades 9 through 12 interested in gaining insight into their personal finances.

“As I began my college preparation, I became curious on the financial aspect of my upcoming chapter of life,” said Newsome senior Even Smith. “I chose this class to gain insight on future savings and investments as well as information on the many costs I will be facing in the future.”

Haines especially recommends the class for students entering the workforce during high school.

“Recently, I began to receive a paycheck biweekly and I tend to spend most of it on impulse buys,” said Newsome senior Simone Soper. “I took this class to learn about saving and investing. I wish I had taken this class sooner so I could have started managing my money earlier.”

Newsome High School is located at 16550 FishHawk Blvd. and can be reached at 740-4600.