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South High Using 'Banzai' to Teach Students Money Management
Local students are getting a free education in how to manage their money. Kohler Credit Union is working with Banzai, a national award-winning financial literacy program, to make curriculum available to Sheboygan County schools completely free.
“Contributing to the financial literacy of our youth is an important aspect of our dedication to the communities we serve. We are fortunate to work with a partner like Banzai who has the same values and vision in educating students,” said Tony Klockow, president of Kohler Credit Union.
"Banzai is a web-based financial literacy program. Kids get their own accounts, and they work through assignments that are based on real life," Morgan Vandagriff, co-founder of Banzai, said. "But because Kohler Credit Union is sponsoring it, local schools get it for free. More than ever, it's important that kids develop sound financial skills to prepare them for the real world, and Kohler Credit Union realizes that and they're doing something about it."
Banzai is an interactive, online program supplemented by printed workbooks which aligns with state curriculum requirements for personal finance education. In 2010, the Institute for Financial Literacy awarded Banzai the Curriculum of the Year award. It has become the largest program of its kind, servicing more than 5,000 schools in all 50 states.
Students using the program are exposed to real-life scenarios where they learn to pay bills and balance a budget--but it’s not always easy. Students must learn to manage unexpected expenses such as parking tickets, interest charges and overdraft fees. The educational program also introduces students to auto loans, bank statements, entertainment costs, savings and more.
“In recent years, South High School has made a concerted effort to build relationships with our community to better prepare our graduates.  We are proud of the partnership we have developed with Kohler Credit Union.  Our students have benefited by having a Kohler Credit Union branch in our school for many years.  Now, through the Banzai program, embedded in the Redwing Way curriculum, our students are furthering their financial literacy.  Working together, Kohler Credit Union and South High School are preparing our students for careers, citizenship and life,” said Mike Trimberger, principal of South High School.
“Too often students get out of school and they just aren't ready for the financial roller coasters life can give us,” Vandagriff said. “Banzai teaches students to navigate those twists and turns and come out on top.  We're excited to work with Kohler Credit Union to improve financial literacy in Sheboygan County.”
Teachers interested in using the Banzai program can visit or call 888-8-BANZAI.
Sheboygan Area School District Press Release
April 17, 2014