09/14/04 — Fifth grade students at Tommy's Road to open savings accounts

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Fifth grade students at Tommy's Road to open savings accounts

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on September 14, 2004 1:57 PM

An innovative idea will teach fifth-grade students at Tommy's Road Elementary School the importance of saving money at an early age.

A new program, called Lifesavers, was unveiled Monday and was made possible through a $250 grant from the Wayne Charitable Partnership and the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. The money will be used to start up a simple interest, individual savings account through First Citizens Bank for the students.

"We are very excited about seeing this happen," said Cathie Hooks, a fifth-grade teacher at Tommy's Road.

Ms. Hooks and fellow teacher Kelly Kokiko began working on the grant last spring and have established the project for this school year.

Parents had the opportunity to open the account Monday night. The $250 will be divided among the students who sign up, and any money they make from now on can be placed into the account at the school or at the bank. Ms. Hooks said that as far as she knows, this is the first time a school has set up such a program.

She said the students are involved in a mini-society during the year where they operate their own business using fake money. This year she plans to use real money, and their profits can go into the account. Parents are also encouraged to boost the account at birthdays and other events.

The teachers will track the account throughout the school year, and they plan on using the bank statements during math class to teach about interest, dividends and other terms.

Usually it costs $100 to open a minor savings account, but First Citizens is waving that fee and there is no service charge until they turn 18 years old. The account is limited to two withdrawals per month.

Around 30 parents signed their children up last night, said Ms. Hooks. Sign-ups will be extended until Thursday afternoon or Friday, and parents should contact their teachers at the school to find out how to sign up.

They will have the money available when they need it, especially when it is time to pay for college, for a down payment on a house, for a car or something else, said Ms. Hooks.

Julie Clyde attended the meeting with her daughter, Shannon, and signed her up for an account. "She was so excited about participating in this program," said Ms. Clyde. "It is going to instill so many good values."