Program provides financial literacy for students


Area students are getting a free education in how to manage their money. Pinnacle Bank is working with Banzai, a national award-winning financial literacy program, to make Banzai’s curriculum available completely free for students at Hot Springs County High School and Thermopolis Middle School.

“With Banzai, kids get their own accounts, and they work through assignments that are based on real life,” Banzai Co-founder Morgan Vandagriff said. “Because Pinnacle Bank is sponsoring it, local area middle and high school students get it for free. More than ever, it’s important that kids develop sound financial skills to prepare them for the real world, and Pinnacle Bank realizes this and is doing something about it.”

Pinnacle Bank-Thermopolis Market President Minnie Miller said, “Educating and supporting our youth is part of the foundation of our local communities. Pinnacle Bank is a community bank, and dedication to community and education are among our core values.”

Banzai’s interactive online program is supplemented by printed workbooks, which align with state curriculum requirements for personal finance education. Banzai has become the largest program of its kind, servicing more than 27,000 teachers and is available in all 50 states.

“We are excited to offer this program because it will assist the schools in teaching valuable financial skills using real life situations,” Miller said.

Pinnacle Bank has offered time, money, industry experience and a variety of bank resources to help local schools teach personal finance in the classrooms. 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.

“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 how to come out on top. We’re excited to work with Pinnacle Bank to improve financial literacy in our local schools.”

Teachers interested in using the Banzai program can visit or call 888-8-BANZAI.


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