Johnson students can bank without leaving school

New credit union branches to open up in Johnson, Highland Park

Donyae Graham
special to the East Side Review

Before the end of November, students at Johnson High will be able to bank within the walls of the school.

Hiway Federal Credit Union has just recently announced construction of student branches within two St. Paul public high schools.

Student branches will be located at Johnson Senior High School and Highland Park Senior High School.

Small kiosks with an office will be installed. Construction has already begun with an anticipated grand opening in November.

Soft openings were held at the schools on Nov. 2, where students from both schools were able to learn about opening and accessing bank accounts in the future. And the grand openings are not far off.

Johnson Senior High School will open its branch first, later in November, while Highland Park will open its in January 2016.

All funds for this project come from Hiway Federal Credit Union.

Students, teachers and other staff from each school will be able to open accounts to begin banking with Hiway. Students will be able to access their account and make transactions before school, after school and during lunch periods.

Not only banking options will be available — students will also have the opportunity to become employees at the two school branches. Hiway staff members will supervise each student branch.

Along with the opportunity of having access to a bank at school, classes and small after-school programs will be held and taught by Tina Jones, Hiway's community outreach administrator.

"I look forward to getting to know the students, faculty and parents as we present materials in the classrooms, participate in school activities and explore ways to incorporate parent involvement into the financial learning experience," Jones said.

In the classes, students will gain financial literacy skills and learn how to apply them to future financial situations, while also receiving college prep and career planning information.

Highland Park principal Winston Tucker figures that these opportunities will surely benefit his students.

"I'm most excited for my students to learn financial literacy skills in a real-life situation," he said.

The concept of having student branches at these schools came from the preceding success of other school-based banks in St. Paul. Both Como Park and Harding high schools have branches of St. Paul Federal Credit Union within their walls. Como got its branch in 2012, while Harding's came in 2014. The branches have been popular with students and faculty.

As with St. Paul Federal Credit Union, Hiway has held a partnership with St. Paul Public Schools for years.

According to Dave Boden, Hiway president/CEO, "Adding a student branch was the next logical step in supporting financial education in the schools." Superintendent Valeria Silva added, "The partnership with Hiway is another great example of our community partners supporting us to give our teenagers real-life experiences to engage them in high school and give them skills that will prepare them for college and careers.

"We look forward to the opening of the branches as a continuation of our long-standing partnership."

Donyae Graham is a Johnson High School graduate currently studying at Hamline University in St. Paul. He can be reached at


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