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IRONTON — A Rock Hill High School teacher was recognized Friday by Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague for her efforts to ensure students are ready to make the important financial decisions that will impact the rest of their lives.

Lou Anne Capper, a business teacher at the school in Ironton, was presented with the Compass Award as part of a program created by Sprague earlier this year that aims to shine a light on organizations, programs and individuals across Ohio who are working to advance financial literacy and empowerment.

“Financial literacy education plays a critical role in preparing our young people to navigate the challenges of adulthood and the modern workforce,” Sprague said. “The Compass Award program recognizes the people and organizations across the Buckeye State who are making a lasting impact on young Ohioans and putting them on a path toward success.”

Capper introduces students to the worlds of business and entrepreneurship by having them run a coffee shop that serves the student body. Students focus on topics like market research, financial statements, pricing, marketing and staffing.

Rylie Depriest, a senior and manager of the coffee shop, says she has learned that running a business has both rewards and challenges.

“It’s hard to run a successful business because there are a lot of parts to it,” she said. “It teaches students that it’s important to show up on time for your job. We have to make sure we have enough product in stock and everything is set up in time to open. We learn that every person in the business must do their part to make it successful. Seeing all the smiling faces and making new friends is the most rewarding part for me.”

She said the coffee shop earns around $200 each day on average.

“We sell coffee, cookies and lemonade, which is probably our top selling item,” Depriest said. “We have a wildberry fruit punch that everyone loves.”

Capper said approximately 15 students were participating in the business course that includes the coffee shop, but all high school students are required to take financial literacy classes at some point.

“This type of education is important because it teaches the relevant life skills and responsibilities,” she said.

Capper says she has made financial literacy and related topics, including entrepreneurship, a priority in her classroom.

“Through simulations of real-life experiences like finding a job, financing education, paying taxes and renting an apartment, students learn how to make important decisions that will impact their lives,” she said.

Sprague also met with students.

“We had one young man say, ‘What I really learned here is responsibility and how to show up on time and do all the things I need to do at my job, and this is preparing me to get a job outside of high school as well,’” Sprague said. “The financial literacy skills they are learning here can immediately be applied outside of the classroom. These young people are really learning what it means to be an adult.”

After presenting the award, Sprague toured the new Rock Hill Family Medical Center, which provides health care services to families on the school’s campus.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD or email him at fpace@hdmediallc.com

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