GUSTINE - A new financial literacy program is being taught at Gustine High.

The curriculum, Foundations in Personal Finance, was developed by personal finance expert Dave Ramsey. It was donated to Gustine High by Tri Counties Bank.

The curriculum is incorporated into a class taught by Diana Andrade, who reached out to Tri Counties and received a $2,500 grant for the program, which expands and enhances a course she has taught for several years.

“I was happy that I was able to get this grant and help out the class even more,” said Andrade.

The program features a realistic 10-week simulation of life, in which the students will have an income and will decide how to spend their money.....choosing between things such as buying a car, renting or buying a house, and paying the variety of bills which are part of adult life.

The exercise gives students a real-life look at what they will experience in their upcoming years as a young adult and the consequences of their financial decisions.

Fifty-six students are currently enrolled in the course, a mix of juniors and seniors. The program will continue in the spring semester.

She hopes to see the class become a requirement for seniors so they leave high school well versed in the financial basics and topics such as investing, student loans, insurance, taxes and more.

“I just want many of them to understand the concept of saving and the importance of  budgeting,” she explained.

Shyanna Caldera, a senior at Gustine High, says she enjoys the course and appreciates Andrade’s approach, which gets everybody in the class involved.

“It is really preparing me for life. When I enter college I (will) know how to budget and get things paid on time,” said Caldera.

Fellow senior Ryan Correa who is also a senior at Gustine explains that the course will deliver real-life benefits.

“I’m glad I took the class,” said Correa. “It makes feel a little bit better that I’m learning this now, and for any other student I truly do recommend this class because its helps so much.”

Principal Adam Cano said he is pleased that Gustine High is able to offer the expanded course.

“This provides the foundation for many students to lead a successful financial future,” he commented. “Most of our students do not have access to learn about finances other than here at school. We are happy to provide this for our students.”