Parent Teacher Magazine Union County Public Schools March/April 2018 - Page 9

Union Elementary graduates UCPS’ inaugural class of the Young Bankers Club Dozens of Union County Public Schools (UCPS) elementary students are now financially savvy, thanks to a new partnership between the school district and Fifth Third Bank. On Jan. 23, as many as 30 Union Elementary students graduated from the Young Bankers Club, a financial literacy program that teaches the importance of education, finances and personal responsibility. To celebrate their accomplishment, the graduates received a goodie bag that included a certificate and a Fifth Third t-shirt. While the Young Bankers Club is offered in school districts nationwide, the recent Union Elementary graduates are the first UCPS students to participate and graduate from the program. It is expected to be rolled out in additional UCPS schools next school year. “This is a really big deal. You were purposely selected for this program not only because you are great kids, but also because students like you deserve this opportunity that will prepare you for your future,” UCPS Superintendent Dr. Andrew Houlihan told the students at the graduation. During the seven- week program, which was offered to students enrolled in the after school program, participants learned about a number of financial literacy topics ranging from the basics of the stock market to managing a bank account to examining interest and credit cards. “In the Young Bankers Club, we learned how to properly take care of our money, and we learned about the difference between a credit and debit card. And we learned how to fill out a check – I didn’t know any of that stuff before I came here,” said fifth grader Reilly Jones. “We’re learning things that we’re going to need to do in life. So if other kids don’t take classes like this, then they won’t know how to do things they need in life, like how to open a savings account.” Fifth Third Financial Center Manager Ann Gogetz, who led the weekly sessions along with Financial Center Manager Loraine Hager and Personal Banker Shannon Blackburn, said their ultimate goals for the program was to educate the students on the value of a dollar and how career paths can determine their future as well as the importance of professionalism and being respectful of others. “Basically, this will help them to become financially empowered as they go through life,” she said, adding that the Young Bankers Club curriculum is also customized to national math education standards. “A parent recently came up to me and said, ‘I can’t believe that my kid knows all of this.’ It’s really been rewarding to see how they’ve grown throughout the program.” Left: On Jan. 23, as many as 30 Union Elementary students graduated from the Young Bankers Club, a financial literacy program that teaches the importance of education, finances and personal responsibility. Top: While the Young Bankers Club is offered in school districts nationwide, the recent Union Elementary graduates are the first UCPS students to participate and graduate from the program. It is expected to be rolled out in additional UCPS schools next school year. Echoing that sentiment, Union Elementary Principal Jennifer Deaton said that she was not only excited to see her students get exposure to real-world scenarios but also loved seeing how their knowledge of financial literacy has grown in such a short time. “Everything that they’ve learned in the Young Bankers Club will help them throughout their life,” she said.” “Eventually, they’re going to have to pay rent or a mortgage, or consider the cost of furthering their education. And they’re going to need to know how to be financially stable and also make responsible financial decisions on their own.” Before the graduation ceremony, fifth grader Tristan Ring said one of the most important lessons he’s learned in the club was how to differentiate between wants and needs. “And I’m learning about saving money and paying bills. I told my mom that I think I’m ready to get a job now,” he said. “Other kids should be in this club so they can get ready to get a job and manage their money too, because now we know things that will help us in the future.” -This article was provided by the Union County Public Schools Communication Office. Parent Teacher Magazine • Mar/Apr 2018 • 7