Staff Spotlight: Melissa Edge
Posted on 10/13/2023
Melissa Edge in Academy of Finance Classroom

Staff Spotlight: Melissa Edge

Melissa Edge is a business education teacher at East Hartford High School who runs the Academy of Finance program. She teaches Academy of Finance 1 and Academy of Finance 2 where her goal is to ensure her students are financially stable in their futures.

“We cover topics from budgeting to financial planning all the way to student loans and what decisions make sense when you’re taking out a student loan. So overall, how do they make sound financial decisions to set them up for their future and learning that they can actually start to make those decisions now as a teenager,” said Edge.

Edge has taught at EHHS for 22 years. She previously taught other business education topics including keyboarding, computer applications and Excel.

“My education journey as a teacher started here in the walls of EHHS,” said Edge. “I fell in love with the people that I work with, our community and our students.”

She says her students are particularly interested in the Academy of Finance classes because the topics are all very real to them. Many of them, juniors and seniors, have their first jobs and are beginning to pay their own bills such as car insurance.

“They understand the importance of getting paid and then having money left over more than 3 days later. So they’re very interested in how can I make my money last longer? How can I save it? How can I make it make money for me? And then how do I figure out how to pay for the expenses that I have?” she said.

EHHS Principal Matt Ryan says Edge’s course attracts a variety of students from those interested in business careers to those who are just looking to try something new.

“All of the kids that end up in her classroom, they excel because [Mrs. Edge] really believes in them,” said Ryan.

He said Edge also provides opportunities for her students outside of the classroom through the program’s work-based learning component.

“She brings in guest speakers. She has field trips. I mean, she runs a full-time pathway at East Hartford High School,” he said.

This includes working with area corporations such as American Eagle Financial Credit Union and Pratt & Whitney to provide paid internship opportunities for students.

“They keep the program alive by giving students paid internship opportunities that bring our curriculum to life,” said Edge. “We have a number of alumni who are now executives at Travelers Insurance Company in Hartford that started as seniors in high school with a paid internship.”

Edge also hosts the annual Academy of Finance Breakfast, coming up on November 1, bringing in alumni and other business leaders to share their stories with students and provide networking opportunities.

Edge says the best part of the job is sharing valuable information with students she knows they will use forever.

“Being able to hear them talk about how they’re excited that they opened up their first savings account or they opened up a CD and their money is making money for them, or that they’ve shared recommendations with family members and they’re helping their family members make sound financial decisions,” she said. “It feels useful. It feels meaningful. So I think that’s what keeps me going.”