School News

Financial Literacy Course Fills Pockets

SEWANEE, Tenn. April 1 - St. Andrew's-Sewanee School, an Episcopal boarding and day school in Sewanee, Tenn., is now offering units on gambling and side gigs as part of the school's financial literacy course.

Math teacher Brian Mazur who teaches the course thinks it's the next logical step in a post-pandemic economy. 

"I always cover budgeting, the dangers of buying on credit, paying attention to unit pricing, insurance, retirement planning, and investing," said Mazur. "But in the middle of my lecture on the tax advantages of Roth IRAs, the students started chanting "Ten million! Ten million! Ten million!" At first, I thought they were referring to their retirement investing goals. Then I realized it was a reference to the number of Americans currently out of work."

Mazur decided to abandon the rest of his curriculum to deal with the students' 2021 concerns. "I've added new units on how to arrange your schedule to maximize dog walking and Lyft income and how to angle your desk so that your unmade bed can't be seen in your Zoom meetings. The kids are really enjoying the lessons on pool sharking and how to count cards in poker, and we recently had a great class debate on whether it's tip income or gift income when your mom comes in for a mocha latte."

SAS Director of Athletics Rob Zeitler was surprised it took this long for Mazur to see the light. "I've been teaching for over 20 years with a side gig chopping down trees and selling firewood," said Zeitler. "My day job is how I get medical insurance for my family, but it's my ax and my truck that put my kids through college." Zeitler offered a firewood splitting Winterim course at the school this year. "Preparing my students for the world they're going to inherit is my duty," he said. "Plus," he added with a grin, "they also got a sneaky little lesson on how to be careful that someone isn't exploiting their labor."

Former hedge fund investor Charlie Woodlief, a 2012 graduate of the school, is happy to see his alma mater taking an increasingly practical approach to financial management. "When I was a student, entrepreneurship was buying Cokes at the Piggly Wiggly and marking them up fifty cents before selling them to your less mobile classmates," he remembered. "Amazon has killed that market. If today's graduates are going to succeed, they're going to need a deeper set of skills." Woodlief recently volunteered to guest teach a unit on cryptocurrency. 

Last month, the school announced that it will be establishing a for-profit enterprise in prediction markets. "Now's your chance to bet on who will receive next year's Boarding Student Award," said Head of School Karl J. Sjolund. The capital raised will be used to endow a position in personal branding and side hustles.