Schooled in business and finance

Through the Academy of Finance & Enterprise (AFE) in Long Island City, high school students are gaining first-hand business knowledge through internships and a virtual enterprise.
Started three years ago, the school will graduate its first senior class in 2009. It currently has about 330 students at the school. Although most are from Queens, there are students attending it who come from other boroughs.
“The expectations are set very high for our students and the expectation is everyone will get a regents diploma and graduate with some college credit,” said Assistant Principal Christian Seifert.
Students take the New York State mandated curriculum but also have added programs in business and finance that come from the National Academy Foundation (NAF). Some of the topics that are covered include the stock market, accounting, banking and financial planning. Along with providing the business curriculum, NAF offers professional development to staff.
Seifert said that the goal for students is to “have every one go on to be successful in college” and to have “working knowledge and some experience working in a business/financial setting.”
AFE also has a virtual enterprise auditing firm that was started in September of 2007 and is made up of 30 juniors. Run like a real company, it interacts with other virtual enterprises at New York City schools.
Another feature of the school is that students are required to participate in weekly community service. Over the summer, a select group of students from AFE will attend a NAF-sponsored trip to highlight the community service to assist other schools by sharing “best practices.” It also has a full range of activities.
Through all that students do at the school, they are able to get paid internships, many of which are sponsored by NAF.
“It’s a very exciting school,” said junior Pooja Raj, an Astoria resident who is also a member of the virtual enterprise. “There’s not a boring moment.”
Raj said that one of the most important things she has learned at AFE is that hard work does pay off. She also said that through the school’s many partnerships she has met successful people in the world of business. Raj plans on going into sales and marketing in the future.
Fellow junior and virtual enterprise member Michal Kaczynski, a resident of Maspeth, said the school has exposed him to the business world further and shown him what business opportunities are out there. AFE has also given him the chance to graduate with more credits than other high schools, which will be beneficial when starting college. He is planning on attending a business university after graduating from high school.
Elmhurst resident Mohammed Alam, also a junior and virtual enterprise member, has long been interested in the medical field. However, he now also wants to study business.
“Being in this school actually helped me become a leader,” Alam said.
The Academy of Finance & Enterprise is located at 30-20 Thomson Avenue in Long Island City. For more information, call 718-389-3623.

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