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Students get certified in financial literacy

CRYSTAL LAKE – Credit card bills, debt, saving, and financing higher education are not often on the minds of most high school students. Yet the financial decisions they make now may have long-term effects on their lives.

American Community Bank and Trust has partnered with EverFi Inc. to launch a new financial education initiative at Crystal Lake Central High School and other area schools.

Crystal Lake Central students were recognized Thursday for their certification in financial literacy through American Community Bank & Trust Financial Scholars Program. Thursday’s assembly in the school’s theater served as a launch for other students about to begin the program.

According to EverFi’s Chrissy Andrews, more than 150 high schools are already using the web-based financial management program. More than 150 students at Crystal Lake Central are using the program to achieve certification in financial literacy.

School districts in Illinois are aligning the platform to the state’s consumer education mandate and other core subjects.

“Financial literacy is increasingly necessary to ensure that individuals can meet their immediate obligations as well as achieve their long term goals of buying a home, funding higher education for themselves or their children, and preparing for retirement,” said Charie Zanck, CEO of American Community Bank & Trust. “As a locally owned and managed financial institution, we are committed to the well being of our clients, neighbors and communities. The EverFi education program is an investment in the future of our community,”

Through the EverFi platform, students become certified in over 600 topics in financial education.

The 10-unit course offers six hours of programming aimed at teaching, assessing and certifying students in a variety of financial topics including credit scores, insurance, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, taxes, stocks, savings, 401(k)s and other critical concepts that map to national financial literacy standards.

Senior Kristina Bevill was among those who received her certification in financial literacy. “It’s important, especially going into college. We’re going to have to start doing all our taxes and filling out forms. I don’t want to have to call my parents every time. I want to be able to know how to do that.

“It’s nice that it’s online,” she said of the EverFi program. “It makes it easy. If you know what you’re talking about you can skip ahead.”

She urged her classmates to “get certified.”

At Thursday’s program, two groups of students participated in a financial literacy quiz game, which challenged students with questions on savings, banking, and financing higher education.

The girls team beat the boys team.

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