DMK's personal finance, career exploration courses open doors to future

Two new courses at Dennis M. Kenney Middle School are providing students with skills and knowledge to prepare them for life beyond school.

Under the leadership of teacher David Meeker, the new “personal finance” and “career exploration in STEM” classes are helping students learn lessons with real-world implications. Meeker, a longtime educator at the high school with the statewide distinction of master teacher, said he is excited to be teaching these courses to students at an earlier age.

“I think middle school is the perfect time for students to be aware of personal finance and begin thinking about potential careers,” Meeker said. “I feel like it’s too late to start talking about some of these things if they’re juniors or seniors when they first learn about it.”

The personal finance course, for eighth-graders, spans 10 weeks and covers a variety of topics related to financial management. Students will learn about budgeting, income and expenditures.

“We’re going to talk about making money, spending money and saving money,” Meeker said. “I want them to walk away from this class with a better awareness of all things money related.”

While eighth-graders are learning about finances, seventh-graders are learning how to make money, through their career exploration class. Students will spend a portion of the 20-week course taking interest surveys, exploring interest-related jobs, researching careers that match their interests and thinking about the education and skills needed for particular employment opportunities.

“I’m already starting to see kids get really interested in different careers and realizing right now that if they want to do this, they have to start studying,” Meeker said. “I tell them to dream big. I tell them that no one is allowed to tell them they can’t do something. Those are some of the rules we’re working under.”