COURTESY PHOTO - Fort Hood tax preparer Farley Darbasie explains the history of taxes, how taxes are spent, and how to fill out a tax form to Copperas Cove High School students through a partnership with the DECA program and the Fort Hood Tax Center.

Soldiers teach taxes to Cove high students


Special to Leader-Pres

Cove High School senior Nakima Marshall plans to be on top of the charts as a world renowned singer one day. If she is to ever realize her dream, she also realizes she will need to know how to handle her money and that includes knowing how to do her own taxes.

More than 300 Copperas Cove High School students participated in a tax preparation class courtesy of the Fort Hood Tax Center set up to educate the students about taxes and how taxes play an important role in owning a business. The students were mainly juniors and seniors who were working age and many of which were already earning money through part-time after-school and weekend and summer jobs.

The partnership between CCHS and the Fort Hood Tax Center began eight years ago as a DECA project, said DECA member Sean Adams.

“I learned a lot personally from this,” Adams said. “I didn’t even know what a W-2 was until yesterday.”

Adams and his fellow DECA team members contacted the tax center this year and expanded the program to include students enrolled in Career Technology Education classes in Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Economics. The expansion is part of their DECA Entrepreneurship Promotion Project which won first place at the regional contest earlier this month and will compete at the state contest this week in San Antonio with a shot at the international contest held in California this year.

Cpt. Erik Thomas is head of the Fort Hood Tax Center and said the center is always happy to be able to do this type of community outreach.

“My high school didn’t do anything like this,” Thomas said. “When I was 19 straight out of high school, I had no idea what I was doing. So, we thought this training would be very valuable for the students. It feels great to interface with young kids and get a flow of information back and forth.”

CCHS Economics teacher Hannah Buford-Gillespie teaches the history of taxes, where the money goes, why Texas does not have a state tax, how taxes are used in a campaign or election year during tax season each school year.

“Personal finance is part of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, so it is a state requirement in teaching,” she said. “Being seniors and having jobs, they need to know that they do not need someone else to do their taxes. They can

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