Ribbon-cutting! Photo courtesy CFA Institute.

CHS/CFA Institute Finance Academy

On February 13, Charlottesville High School was pleased to host a ribbon-cutting to celebrate a new partnership, the CHS/CFA Institute Finance Academy. The aim is to support financial education and cultivate interest and awareness of the investment profession for students at CHS.

The  CHS/CFA Institute Finance Academy will impact three programs at CHS:

Student Investment Group

In 2015, a self-started team of students called the Student Investment Group was established by student Lucas Higgins ’18. The club went on to excel in college-sponsored investment competitions hosted by both UVA and the Wharton School of Business at Penn. Furthermore, Lucas raised $25,000 to establish an investment fund for the club to manage. So far, the group has given $2,500 to the local nonprofit City Schoolyard Garden.

Economics and Personal Finance Classes

To fulfill state graduation requirements, all CHS students must take a course in  economics and personal finance. These classes are taught by Meagan Maynard, Deb Tewksbury, and Yumeca Webb, all of whom have been nationally honored as Gold Star Teachers by the Working in Support of Education group. The award recognizes that these teachers’ classes have extremely high rates of success in passing the Financial Literacy Certification Test. Relatedly, CHS has repeatedly earned the Blue Start School award for this program’s success.


AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a national program that helps underrepresented students build a bridge to higher education. In Charlottesville, the AVID program starts with a school-wide emphasis for fifth- and sixth-graders at Walker Upper Elementary School and continues with the process of applying to be part of a cohort at Buford Middle School and Charlottesville High School. From CHS, we have sent first-generation college students to colleges and universities in Virginia and beyond, including UVA, George Mason, and Howard University. As part of their program, AVID students benefit from partnerships with the UVA School of Medicine, the Tom-Tom Founders Festival, and, most recently, Project SERVE with CFA Institute. These partnerships offer opportunities to develop research experience, leadership abilities, and professional presentation and pitch skills.

New classroom to support AVID and the Student Investment Group made possible by CFA Institute. Photo courtesy CFA Institute.
New classroom to support AVID and the Student Investment Group made possible by CFA Institute. Photo courtesy CFA Institute.

Modern Workspace

One of the first concrete steps of this partnership was the renovation of the classroom that hosts AVID seniors and the Student Investment Group. The environment is modeled after college classrooms and modern corporate offices and includes room for collaboration, flexible workspaces, and new technology.

About CFA Institute

Headquartered here in Charlottesville, CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organization is a champion for ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. Our aim is to create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. There are more than 150,000 CFA charterholders worldwide in 165+ countries and territories. CFA Institute has eight offices worldwide and there are 149 local member societies. For more information, visit www.cfainstitute.org