Students take this lesson straight to the bank

January 22, 1998


Staff Writer

Every week, students at more than two dozen elementary and middle schools turn their attention to banking, putting their weekly allowances into accounts set up by local banks.

Candace Stanford is saving money for an all-terrain vehicle. She's also learning to set aside money regularly, while working with other people and seeing real-life applications of math and computers.

Once a week, Stanford and other students at Pangborn Elementary School get to class early to participate in a student banking program offered by Hagerstown Trust.


Students give their deposits to other students who act as tellers, typing the amount into a computer. A printout of the day's deposits are made, and the tellers reconcile the statements before parent volunteers take the money to the bank.

"It's extremely practical. We want to teach kids to solve problems in a realistic situation," said Pangborn Principal Joseph Byers.

Hagerstown Trust is one of two banks that offer the program to youngsters.

Farmers and Merchants Bank and Trust operates a site on the World Wide Web that enables students to make deposits directly into their accounts.

"Kids like it and it's a way to get them saving," said Alan Zube, technology coordinator at Salem Avenue Elementary School, where about 50 students have set up savings accounts through F&M. Some of the students have saved close to $200, Zube said.

Hagestown Trust officials said they have handled 5,980 student transactions totaling $39,254 in deposits since the beginning of the year.

Since the bank started the program in 1992, there have been 2,579 accounts representing $327,000 in deposits, said Stephen Hummel, assistant vice president of Hagerstown Trust.

F&M bank has 12 schools in Washington and Allegany counties hooked to its system, and has more than 500 accounts, according to Stuart Mullendore of F&M.

Students acting as tellers scrolled through accounts on their computers Thursday morning at Pangborn as they assisted students with their deposits.

Fifth-grade student Amy Startzman said her account stood at $30, and students Andrea Grier and Stanford saw theirs climb toward the $50 mark.

It can be a learning experience in many ways, as Brian Klitch realized.

Klitch said he volunteered to be a teller this year at Pangborn because he thought it would be fun. He decided it was boring.

"I don't really want to be one," said Klitch.

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