Editor’s Note: The following is the first part of a series on HTHS Academy programs, which The Tribune will be publishing in monthly installments. This story will feature Trussville’s Academy of Business and Finance, as we look at the program’s profile.
With so much pressure being placed on teachers and administrators, and school programs constantly under scrutiny, one local high school is challenging the typical learning environment with specialized academic programs for students.
These programs are known as “academies” and require a specialized track of courses to be completed upon graduation.
Hewitt-Trussville High School offers several academy programs for students to focus on. Those programs are: Biomedical Sciences Academy, Engineering Academy, Information Technology Academy, Business and Finance Academy, Electrical Construction Academy and Hospitality and Culinary Arts Academy.
HTHS Assistant Principal Joy Young is the coordinator of the Academies Program initiative.
Designed to give high school students an opportunity to prepare for collegiate studies and careers in the fields of business and finance, the Academy of Business and Finance places emphasis on a college preparatory curriculum that is directly linked to the financial and business worlds.
Students enrolled in the academy are required to participate in mentorships, career shadowing and internship programs in order to successfully graduate from the program.
The main initiative of the Business and Finance program is to link the resources of business, economics, and finance to education and to the students.
During their junior or senior years, students are provided college credit opportunities through a dual enrollment agreement with Jefferson State Community College.
A paid internship is recommended for completion of the Academy of Business and Finance and students can also participate in dual enrollment classes for college credit.
The courses taught in this program require one semester of credit for each class, focusing on issues such as the basics of financial literacy and the function of finance in society. Students study income and wealth, including budgeting, personal banking, credit and borrowing, and planning for retirement
Student also study financial services, corporate finance, principles of accounting, business ethics, entrepreneurship and global business.
The instructors for the Business and Finance Academy are Alison Holingsworth and April Howell.
“They are so uniquely qualified,” Young said. “Our students are so fortunate to have such highly accomplished instructors.”
Hollingsworth has her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and her Master’s in Business Administration, both from Jacksonville State. She holds over 10 years of accounting experience and previously worked as a post-secondary accounting instructor.
Howell earned her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Samford University and holds a Master’s in Accounting and Financial Management from the Keller Graduate School of Management. She is also an audit associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Birmingham.
Students in the Business and Finance Academy are members of DECA, a Career Technical Student Organization that offers those students who are enrolled in business classes the opportunities to affiliate and collaborate with fellow students across the nation.
Students in the academy get to learn from professionals currently working in the field and often learn more from their experiences outside the classroom.
Through programs like these, Hewitt-Trussville is competing academically with schools that are in other districts, such as Oak Mountain, Shades Valley and Mountain Brook.