LAFAYETTE — A dollar bill, two quarters, two dimes and a nickel.
That’s this week’s savings for 6-year-old Alice Boucher Elementary student Nevaeh Dixon. She’s one of more than 130 students who make weekly deposits into the school’s new bank — KidzBank — a project of Capital One.
The Boucher bank opened a few weeks ago, and held its grand opening celebration Wednesday.
The KidzBank program is part of Capital One’s community outreach programs and teaches kids the fundamentals of saving, said Mike Wack, Capital One market president for Lafayette.
The Boucher KidzBank location is the first in the Acadiana area and joins Gentilly Terrace Elementary in New Orleans as the only two in the state, said Wack.
The program lays the foundation for lessons in financial literacy, said Keith Bartlett, Boucher principal.
Student deposit slips bear the motto: “Financial Freedom for Tomorrow’s Adults.”
“This is a life skill that will stay with you forever,” Bartlett told a line of students waiting to make their grand opening deposits.
And the lessons have already started sinking in.
Sisters Ariana and Ariel Goodie deposit $1 each week, but this Wednesday, Ariel socked away $20 in leftover birthday cash. The girls said they opened up accounts to save their cash.
“We always spend it when we see something in the store,” said Ariana, 9.
Nevaeh’s grandmother, Jacqueline James goes to Boucher every Wednesday to make the deposit with her.
“I’m trying to teach her the value of money,” James said as she and Nevaeh waited in line. “Every Wednesday, we get our nickels and dimes together. She’s learning how to count and about saving.”
And Nevaeh is saving up for something special — a Toy Story Jessie cowgirl doll that costs about $30. She’s almost halfway there with $13 in the bank.
Students are learning more than the value of saving, said Danielle Babineaux, the school’s math coach who oversees the bank project.
While the bank enables students — both tellers and patrons — to improve their math skills, it also hones their communication skills, teaches lessons about delayed gratification and how to analyze financial reports, she said. Students will receive quarterly account statements.
Students are also being exposed to a potential new career, said superintendent Burnell Lemoine.
He told students Wednesday they could pursue their interest in finance at the Business and Finance Academy at Acadiana High. That school’s academy students operate a schools employee federal credit union on the campus with accounts open to students, faculty, staff and their families.
The KidzBank’s four fifth-grade student tellers received training last month on privacy issues, customer service and on the duties of a teller. Babineaux said about 20 students applied for the opportunity to “work” in the bank and had to apply for the position — just like for any other job.
The idea of being a teller sounded like fun and so far, it has been, said Deiondre Williams, 10.
“You get to greet people, write deposit slips and work on a computer,” he said.
Customers receive a receipt for their transaction and the deposits are also logged into a computer. The cash is deposited after school at the Capital One Vermilion branch.
Three other fifth grade students serve on the bank’s board of directors, which also includes two teachers, Bartlett and Babineaux. Teacher board members supervise student tellers.
The board sets the bank hours and makes other operational decisions — like a recent one to allow Pre-K students to make deposits. The board set a policy that allows two withdrawals per year — one around Christmas and another before summer vacation, said Christine Lynn, manager of the Capital One Vermilion Street branch downtown.
Though a long line of students remained 30 minutes after the bank’s ribbon cutting, students didn’t skimp on the customer service.
Teller Trayon Babin, 10, ended his transactions with a friendly, “Thanks for banking with us today.”
Some of the bank’s tellers still have their first savings plan — pennies and more stuffed in piggy banks.
“I have two that are shaped like bears and the other is a big container,” said teller JaS’ahn Brown, 10.
He’s not ready to crack them yet.
“That’s for retirement,” he said with a smile.