High school bank teaches financial literacy

RIVERDALE PARK — The Capital One Bank located in Parkdale High School in Riverdale Park is not your average bank: The students operate it.

Student bank

Student teller Joe McCulley and Student Bank Branch Leader Jumoke Akinfe help a student open an account at the school-based branch of Capital One Bank at Parkdale High School in Riverdale Park. (Capital News Service)

Parkdale High was one of four schools chosen for the Capital One student-run bank branch, and the only one in Maryland. It opened its doors in October 2011. The other three schools are in New York City and Newark, N.J.

The Parkdale bank is open to students and faculty every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to withdraw, make deposits and open accounts.

Dale Skinner, area market president for Capital One, said every year students apply to the program and go through a round of rigorous interviews before the final class of eight to 10 seniors are chosen to operate the bank.

“We are looking at the students to not only run the branch entirely, but to teach their fellow students about money management skills such as savings and budgeting,” Skinner said.

As a part of the class, the students will provide peer lessons to their fellow classmates of Parkdale about identity theft, wise use of credit and savings.

Ivan Diaz-Cruz, 18, student teller, said being a part of the program has been a life-changing experience.

“I used to be a kid who wasn’t motivated, but this program has switched me around and done a 180 for me. People in the program have helped me and changed my mind. It made me want to go to college and be the best I can,” Diaz-Cruz said.

Sitra Adem, 18, another student teller, said she has become more confident due in part to working as a team.

“Working with my team is what I look forward to. I don’t ever feel uneasy about work, I feel secure because I have a strong team behind me,” Adem said.

In addition to learning the importance of financial literacy, the student tellers are also preparing for college.

Susan Baudoin, class instructor, said in November, the class took a trip to St. Michael’s College in Vermont, which several of the students are interested in attending.

“The students visited St Michael’s … to really see what college life was about,” Baudoin said.

Currently, all of the student bankers have applied to at least one college. Several have already received acceptance letters.

-Nicole Jones, CNS