Rachel Spangle is learning the value of saving, a quarter at a time.
She and 10 other sixth graders at Chesapeake Bay Middle School lined up yesterday morning in Christine DiCio's classroom to deposit their spare change in savings accounts provided by Farmers National Bank.
"We've also had a lot of withdrawals with Christmas just aroun the corner," said Ms. DiCio.
Saving a portion of her lunch money every day, Rachel, 11, said she has deposited nearly 50 cents a day since October.
"I ended up with $20 after a while, but then I withdrew about hal of it to go roller skating," she said.
The savings accounts are part of a cooperative effort between the school and the bank to expose 150 sixth and eighth graders to the philosophy of saving while teaching math and life skills.
Ms. DiCio said she has organized an in-house bank to teach he math classes money management skills for the past 15 years. The students learn how to make change, the importance of writing documents in pen rather than pencil, the difference between a signature and a printed name and how to balance their accounts.
For the first time, students this year are learning about interes too. Farmers National Bank has opened real savings accounts paying 3 1/2 percent for each of the students with no minimum deposit.
"We're trying to teach them how to save, how to reconcile a statement, things a lot of adults can't do," said Donna Stevens, a vice president at Farmers. "They get to go to the banks by themselves. They don't need a parent."
Ms. Stevens kicked off the program in September, passing out bank signature cards and parental permission slips. The students had their accounts by October and were balancing their personal registers against their banks statements in November.
Yesterday, Nancy Clookie, a bank training officer, guided students through the history of American banking, including the recent S&L; crisis, and how to write checks. In the coming months, students are to learn about loans, the value of good credit and careers in banking.
Rachel, the daughter of Dave and Joyce Spangle of Rolling Meadow Run, said she has mastered the deposit and withdrawal slips. But, she said, she's still trying to understand the "little book" where she is supposed to record her transactions and later balance against them her monthly statement.
"I like coming to school, making deposits and seeing all the money in there," Rachel said.