Student employees, VyStar Credit Union executives, local elected officials and school administrators were on hand to cut the ribbon for the grand opening of VyStar's Palatka High School branch Sept. 16.
The branch will be staffed entirely by PHS students and will offer checking and savings. It will be open only to PHS students, teachers and staff members, and is located in a former classroom near the commons area.
VyStar entered into an agreement with the Putnam County School District to establish the VyStar Academy of Business and Finance for the 2014-15 school year.
“This is another opportunity for VyStar to play a role in educating our young people in northeast Florida on financial matters that could affect them over their entire life,” said Terry West, president and CEO of VyStar Credit Union. “We are proud to be a part of the VyStar Academy of Business and to be working with the Putnam school system.”
George Berry, chairman of VyStar’s board of directors, told the students who work in the branch that they exemplified PHS’ motto of “Pride, Honor and Success.”
PHS senior Jacob Higginbotham, the branch’s marketing manager, told the audience that VyStar has high professional expectations for their employees. He also said that he enjoyed speaking to other PHS students about the advantages of opening an account with the credit union.
“We are so appreciative that Vystar is providing this opportunity for our students,” said Phyllis Criswell, superintendent of Putnam County Schools. “It’s a great professional working experience for the students employed by the branch. It will also encourage and teach financial responsibility to the students who use its services.”
VyStar accepted applications from students within the Academy of Business at PHS. They selected 12 students through an interview process by school personnel and VyStar management. The selected students went through an extensive 10-week paid training program at VyStar during the summer.
“VyStar is truly making a difference in the students’ education and their future,” said Mary Beth Hedstrom, PHS principal.