Andalusia High School has partnered with CCB Community Bank to bring Banzai, an interactive program that teaches students different financial concepts.
“Banzai is an interactive game that students can use to practice budgeting,” AHS career preparation teacher Lauren Maynor said. “So they have different categories in their budget and they allocate money to different places. When bills come through they have to pay their bills and they actually have real life scenario accidents, like maybe their pipes burst or somebody stole their wallet. So they kind of have to plan for those unexpected events.”
Maynor said that she is able to track their progress on her own computer and see how they are doing.
“I can track their progress through the whole course,” Maynor said. “And then there is a little post test at the end so I can see how much they have learned.”
Maynor teaches freshmen at AHS and she said it is interesting how unaware they are about financial responsibilities.
“I teach freshmen, so a lot of this material goes over their heads,” Maynor said. “But it is really interesting to see just how unaware they are of some of the things you have to do as an adult when it comes to budgeting. Some students will actually ask me, ‘Is this real life?’ So it really is a wake up call for some of them to realize that this is what you are going to be getting into.”
She said that Banzai has been a very beneficial tool in her classroom.
“We do a lot of personal finance and budgeting in my class, so it goes along with our curriculum,” Maynor said. “CCB actually sponsors this program for us and without them, I don’t know if we would have the opportunity to do it otherwise.”
Maynor definitely recommends Banzai to other teachers who are thinking of getting the program.
“I absolutely recommend it,” Maynor said. “Before I knew that this was available I always wished that we had more resources like this that were available to the students, because you can stand up there and teach all day long, but this is really interactive with each student.”
Tari McClung, a marketing representative from CCB Community Bank, said that Joy Norris originally had CCB bring the program to Covington County.
“Joy’s passion was to always have programs for our kids and to always be involved with our schools,” McClung said. “And that is why she went looking for something that we could offer.”
CCB partnered with all of the schools in the surrounding area so that they could have Banzai, McClung said.
“Teachers can go in themselves and sign up for the program,” McClung said. “And we have been getting a lot of requests lately for schools using it. It’s not only Covington County either, because we provide services for schools in Crestview and Niceville as well.”
She said that it is important for students to learn these financial concepts because of how much society is changing today.
“Our kids today see so much change,” McClung said. “So it is important for them to know at least the basics. There are so many electronics and technology that get in the way so we just want to make sure that they have a solid foundation that starts when they are younger.”