Nicole De Barros
Supplying students with the opportunity to save money with ease, Coral Gables Sr. High’s Credit Union branch offers students the option to open a bank account, in order to save up money during their school year. Free online banking is one of the many options that are offered to the school’s student population.
Student Credit Union History:
The school’s branch was first re-opened and re-located in Oct. 2016 by Academy of Finance (AOF) faculty members with the sole purpose to bring convenience and opportunity to the students and faculty. The school’s Credit Union is also part of the South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union (SFEFCU) branch. This re-opening was celebrated with AOF’s faculty and student interns who would be managing the bank during the academic year. They celebrated alongside Mr. Michael DiBendetto, the South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union president, Dr. Lupe Diaz and Soley Gonzalez, the AOF Chairperson at the time.
“I love working at the Credit Union. I have met some of my greatest friends working at the Union. It is really an experience that I am blessed to have had. As a senior, it is a bit sentimental at times to know my work days are numbered, but the memories and skills I have acquired will come along with me to my next steps,” senior Gabriel Benedi said.
To Open an Account:
While opening an account is fairly simple, there are a few things to remember for the day of. A five dollar deposit, Social Security number and school identification are required to open the banking account. In addition, students must bring another type of identification: a state ID, driver’s license, valid passport, or driving permit. Furthermore, any student, faculty member, and family can open an account at the school’s branch and anyone who opens an account will have the opportunity to begin saving money that same day.
“I have been putting off opening an account, however, I am very thankful that we do have a credit union in our own school, because it offers an opportunity for kids, especially the scholarship lottery they have set in place for those who have an account,” sophomore Jorge Morales said.
Benefits of Joining the Credit Union:
Aside from responsibly saving money, students who have had their account open for a year or longer automatically qualify to win a full scholarship to any Florida school they desire. The Credit Union also offers opportunities for students enrolled in the National Academy of Finance to meet their required 150-hour internship while working right on campus. This real-life job experience prepares all those who seize this opportunity to eventually work in a bank, receiving hands-on experience not offered to many at the age of sixteen. In addition, those who intern at the schools “mini-bank” earn an honors credit that is then transferable to their school transcripts.
Location and Hours of Operation:
The Credit Union’s office is located in the school’s main Cafeteria. It now operates Tuesdays and Wednesdays during both lunches. At the credit union, you will find students operating the office from the start to the end of both lunches awaiting to offer students the opportunity to start saving money and borrow money from the low-interest bank.
Student’s from 9th to 12th grade make sure to visit the school’s Credit Union and open an account! Make sure to stop by the Old Cafeteria for any questions or concerns you may have, there are always interns available to help in whichever way they can.