There’s nothing like real-world experience in handling money to teach youths about finance, as well as practical work skills, as some Blackman students are learning – and you can take that to the bank.

Blackman High School this semester opened a student-run credit union branch. The effort is in partnership with Redstone Federal Credit Union.

Prior to this projeft, Blackman had only a practice bank, said principal Leisa Justus. The credit union built a real branch in the school. The student-tellers are trained by Redstone employees and receive class credit. The branch is open only during lunch, which is a two-hour block of time.

Justus said the Rutherford County school board and Superintendent Bill Spurlock were supportive of the project.

The 10 student-tellers take deposits, cash checks, handle cash withdrawals and make money transfers, according to a credit union news release. They will be eligible for a college scholarship from Redstone.

Accounting teacher Jeanette Noffsinger works with the student-tellers.

“I knew it would be a great thing for the students,” but it was even better than imagined, Noffsinger said.

They learn skills such as customer service and money security. The credit is in the school’s finance practicum and is the capstone for the business-banking pathway.

Taylor Kulaszewski, a senior, said she wanted to work at the branch because her mother worked in a similar field for more than 20 years, and she has gone to work with her. This is a way to learn how money is managed.

“This is an amazing opportunity for school,” Taylor said. “It’s cool to say, ‘Hey, I was part of Redstone.’ Redstone is patient and supportive.”

Taylor said she plans to work in either sports management or as an ESPN broadcaster. Team managers need financial literacy, she said.

Another student-teller, Ben Gleason, a junior, said he enjoys the work and is learning personal finance. He said he plans to play baseball in college after high school.

Student-teller Allison Seiling, a junior, said she is learning finance and how to cash a check, as well as what a customer should ask a bank. She said she plans to major in accounting and real estate.

Noffsinger and Justus also touted Redstone’s special Blackman-themed debit card. Use of the card results in a small amount of cash going to the school for its benefit. Credit union members may request the Blackman Blaze debit card at their branch, according to a Redstone release.

Mike Panesi, Redstone’s vice president of the Tennessee market, said in a release, “We are thrilled to open our first student-run branch in Rutherford County and are excited to partner with the Blackman School family to help students understand banking, money management and how to build a solid financial future.”

Blackman is Redstone’s fifth high school branch operated by students, with oversight from teacher-advisors, the credit union said.

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