Credit Union at East St. John High to teach kids financial lessons

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 11, 2006


Staff Reporter

RESERVE- East St. John High School is opening the doors to financial literacy for its students, literally.

Wednesday was the first official day of operation for the new student credit union at the high school.

The hours of operation will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday during lunch period.

St. John Parish School Board and the Louisiana Federal Credit Union have worked hard to make sure students learned the importance of having good money skills.

Rhonda Hotard, president of the Louisiana Federal Credit Union, said &#8220We are hope we are planting the seed to financial freedom for these kids and hope they will learn to understand the importance of managing their finances. If they learn about good money management at an early age, later they will be able to use our services responsibly.”

As a result of the School Board and credit union partnership, the East St. John Credit Union will be a full-service credit union where students can open accounts and withdraw and deposit money. Students will not be able to do money orders or cashier’s checks.

&#8220Students can fill out the application to become members at school and then they are sent to the Belle Terre branch for identification verification and processing,” said Hotard.

&#8220We approached the School Board with a business plan adopted from Lafayette schools for a finance program and they liked it,” she said.

&#8220Financial literacy is an important skill and we thought that giving the children first-hand experience with that was something we should do,” she said.

Beverly Harris is the School to Career director at East St. John. &#8220Under the school to career program we became members of the National Academy of Finance; we paid a $5000 membership fee and established the academy at the school in 1999,” she said. The idea for a credit union came about shortly after, but was not able to happen immediately.

&#8220The students take classes in finance and then as a senior, they go to New York to the Financial Academy conference,” said Annete Houston.

Houston attends conferences of the Financial Academy twice a year and acts as a representative of the school.

&#8220The academy promotes financial literacy and visibility for the financial academy and it connects students between what they learn in the classroom and what their career choices will be,” she said.

&#8220I am really excited and looking forward to working in the credit union. I want to get into banking later in life so this will give me a taste of the business world,” said Darian Houston, a junior at East St. John.

Aaron Adams plans on putting his experience as a credit union worker on his college resume. He wants to major in finance and accounting in college.

&#8220I think the students have a good chance to learn financial strategies and how to handle money so they can put those skills to use,” he said. &#8220I also think my experience will help me gain financial independence later in life.”

&#8220I decided to work in the credit union because the financial academy was starting the program and I felt I could learn about financial services so I could teach others how to manage money,” said Lyndell Scott. He plans on going to school for business administration and marketing.

East St. John will continue its partnership with the Louisiana Credit Union by holding personal finance classes with freshmen to provide children with good money management strategies while giving them the opportunity to manage their accounts.