One-of-a-kind financial program pays off for Biloxi High

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - "Can I get two $20 bills and ten ones?" a student asked the teller.

Real money changes hands every day at Biloxi High School. This school year, Biloxi High and Keesler Federal Credit Union opened the first in-school student run branch in Mississippi. Since then, interest in the program has grown beyond expectations.

"Just since January, we had a 40 percent increase in teller transactions at this branch. So we've grown a lot since we've opened. So we're kind of the pioneer for the state of Mississippi," said Program Supervisor Michelle Scurrah.

The credit union is run by trained students. They gain real-life work experience by handling all sorts of financial transactions, from cash deposits to loan payments. However, they don't deal with prepaid card services, like gift cards, or cash advances.

"You have to worry about messing up other people's transactions and stuff like that," said Christina Williams, one of the student tellers. "You really have to learn to connect with people, because you're constantly dealing with them on a daily basis."

Young people who open accounts learn valuable money-saving lessons.

"I've learned a lot about balancing and keeping up with your money and seeing where it goes," said Biloxi High Sophomore Savannah Coleman. "When I go to college and I'm on my own, it'll help me be like more prepared for keeping up with my budget."

Teachers and staff also enjoy having a credit union right on campus.

"I think it's great," said Behavior Specialist Michael Bucklar. "It's very convenient for teachers and for students, for the teachers to get some lunch money and things like that."

Many call the program a great investment in the students' financial future. The student tellers work at the credit union during their lunch hour. They will receive a $500 scholarship at the end of the school year, along with community service hours.

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