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Amarillo students getting financial education

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Amarillo, Texas - Some Amarillo students will have a unique opportunity to participate in a research study that will have them counting their piggy banks.

Fourth graders in the Amarillo Independent School District will be learning more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. They'll be learning a lifelong skill as part of a research study.

"That it is important to save your money. You always need extra money for stuff later on in life," Bryar Moore, Windsor Elementary School student says.

Bryar Moore says he has learned an important lesson while working at the Happy State Kids Bank at Windsor Elementary School. And now, all of his classmates will be learning those financial lessons.

"It's actually a study on financial literacy, working with fourth grade students at 15 different schools here in Amarillo, consortium of the district with the bank, teaching the kids savings habits and banking skills, not to mention job skills and things of that," J. Pat Hickman, Happy State Bank Chairman CEO says.

"Smarter Texans Save" is the financial classroom education program for fourth grade students. The program by Opportunity Texas will be collecting research from students which will form a national model for school-based financial education.

"Getting kids experience, hands-on experience, with money management in combination with the lessons we think if a great opportunity for parents to take advantage of," Laura Rosen, Opportunity Texas says.

Parents will be sent home an application form to open a savings account in their child's name. Participating students will be entered to win a $25 "seed" deposit to open their account as part of the study.

"We're trying to send the message to students that it is important for you to know how to manage your finances," Rod Schroder, AISD Superintendent says.

Students will go through six sessions learning topics such as saving, banking, and money management. Bryar says his classmates need to learn these topics.

"Because if you need to pay money for something or anything you'll have it later on," Moore says.

Amarillo is only the second community to be chosen to participate in this study.