Students saving for the future

BEAVER SPRINGS – Some students at West Snyder Elementary School are cracking open the piggy bank for the sake of their future.

Third, fourth and fifth grade students are thinking wisely at the elementary school as they take part in the Northumberland National Bank’s “Banking Day” once a month. Employees from the bank visit the school the first Friday of the month and allow students to deposit funds into an account set up in their names.

This is the second year of the program, and students are thinking ahead.

“My aunt is in her last year of college,” said third grader Anyssa Peters, “and I want to be able to go to school like her.”

So, like Peters, the students are collecting their chore money, birthday money and other loose change to save for their future.

Principal David Harrison describes the students in the program as “smart” and “ahead of the game.”

“We’ve had kids come in with Ziploc bags of coins,” Harrison said, “and we set up our cafeteria as a banking area. They fill out a deposit slip and they are taught how to keep a running balance. There is a formal and informal side to this.”

The formal side, he said, is the education of interest and compounding interest. The informal side is the one-on-one interaction with bankers.

And there are incentives.

Kids get one dollar placed in their account after opening. Prizes are also drawn quarterly.

Plus, there is open enrollment. Any student in grades three through five can take part at anytime throughout the school year.

“Financial literacy is important in the education of our children,” Harrison said, pointing out the program adds to curriculum at the school.

“It’s never too early to teach kids about savings. My own kids learned at preschool age to do little chores and save some of their money. We need to teach kids the importance of self discipline. You look at the fluctuation in our economy this gives an understanding how the economy works and will help them be successful as adults.”

Megan Latchford, fifth grade, wants to be a marine biologist and said she knows it will take some serious funds to make that happen.

“I save my birthday money. I keep half of it and put half in the bank,” she said.

Devin Garrison is in fourth grade and said she is saving money for vacation and to buy a present for her grandmother. She noted it’s important to stay ahead of the game financially.

“If you need some money for something, then it’s already saved up instead of if you spend it all, and then it’s not there,” she said.

Dawn Garrison, Devin’s mom, is assistant vice president and branch manager of Northumberland National Bank and helps lead the program at West Snyder.

“We try to promote savings for later. We tell the kids, ‘Right now you think “Oh, I would like to have that video game.” But think about later when you’re 16 and you need a car.’ We try to help them think long term.”

It takes parents’ involvement to make it come together, Garrison added. Parents must sign consent for their children to take part.

Parents seeking more information can call the bank at (570) 765-7158.