Students at East St. John High School are getting hands-on learning about working in the banking industry, while also providing a convenient service for students and staff.
The school on Sept. 30 celebrated the grand opening of Total Choice Credit Union on campus. The branch is staffed by student interns who will open accounts, cash checks and help customers with other banking tasks such as deposits and withdrawals.
“This will provide wonderful job experience for students,” said Jennifer Chauvin, Banking Internship teacher. “They’re gaining skills they can relate to other classes in college.”
That was what attracted A’Kyri Paulding to the class. At the end of last school year, Total Choice interviewed interested students and chose one to participate in a summer internship to train to lead the East St. John High branch. Paulding, a senior who is planning to major in accounting, was chosen and is now in charge of things such as scheduling for her classmates.
“I want to be an accountant when I get older. I like dealing with money and math,” she said. “They gave me the opportunity to train and to learn to cash checks and make deposits and withdrawals.”
The branch is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday during lunch hours. During those times, two students will work as tellers, while two more will work in marketing and advertising for the branch. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the students will learn to prepare tax returns through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which offers free tax help to qualifying individuals in need.
While all of the current students are college-bound, ESJH master teacher Billie Duncan said the branch is also a great opportunity for students who plan to seek employment right out of high school.
“I’m about opportunities for these kids,” she said. “Not every kid is going to college. I want them to have the skills to support themselves.”
For those attending college, the experience gained will help both inside and outside the classroom.
“Most will be business majors,” Chauvin said. “This gives them teller experience to get a part-time job, or even a full-time job, in the banking industry.”
An added bonus, for students and staff, is being able to do their banking by simply walking down the hall.
“This is a great service for students and staff,” Chauvin said. “How nice is it to have a bank on campus and simply swing by to get cash for the weekend on a Friday afternoon.”
The students are supervised throughout their shift by a Total Choice employee.
“We really appreciate the effort to make this happen,” Total Choice Board President Johnel McClain said. “This will give students the opportunity to learn money and banking while in high school.”