By the time Ilya Voronin is 16, he hopes to have saved enough money to buy a car.
His Mount Nittany Middle School eighth-grade classmate Nathan Dreyer hopes to have some savings heading into college, and Joseph Schwab said he eventually wants to buy a house.
But saving takes time.
“The earlier they start (saving), the bigger the return on investment,” Thompson said.
The program was started by the American Bankers Association to educate students on the importance of personal finance.
Kish Bank has participated in the initiative for more than 10 years, reaching 2,500 students in Centre, Huntingdon and Mifflin counties just this school year, said Oksana DeArment, of Kish Bank on Green Tech Drive in Patton Township.
“We provide simple financial lessons we think will stick with the student population, and hopefully can reach a couple of them,” DeArment said.
Kish Bank has held the program with schools in the State College Area School District for four years, but this is the first time the presentation was done at Mount Nittany.
“It’s perfect for us,” said social studies teacher Lorraine Howley. “It fits right in with what we’re learning.”
When family and consumer science classes were discontinued at the school two years ago, some curriculum overlapped with Howley’s social studies classes where they discuss civics, economics and government.
“We also discussed personal finance and how it relates to how the government budgets things,” Howley said. “With experts talking about saving and opening up (bank) accounts, it will have more of an impact on them than me talking with them about it. … If we don’t start talking about it at this stage, then they can get into some financial trouble later.”
Greg Hayes, head of retail banking at Kish Bank’s North Atherton Street location, said his biggest advice was for young kids to be responsible with money and to set financial goals.
Thompson reminded them that in order to take vacations and buy the things that might be out of budget, the only way to get there is to save for it.
Kish Bank also offered to add $5 for any student who opened up a savings account for the first time at the bank. The $5 would be added to the account.
“We want to give incentives and make sure they’re ahead of the curve,” Hayes said.
The program will continue Friday at the school with a daylong presentation for seventh-grade students.