[Photos provided by Emily Inman]
Over 30,000 teachers use Banzai, an award-winning financial literacy course, nationwide. The goal of this program is to equip students with financial education that they will need in the future. It incorporates real-life scenarios such as paying rent, auto insurance, saving for unexpected costs, college tuition, and more. Banzai was founded in 2007 in Provo, Utah by co-owners Morgan Vandagriff and Kendall Buchanan and has spread to this area via TCT Federal Credit Union.
“Our goal for Banzai is to educate and inspire students to take their future into their own hands by developing positive money habits. The Banzai program helps students prepare for their financial future,” said Emily Inman, Public Relations Manager at Banzai.
Ballston Spa High School and Still Water Middle School and High School are utilizing this program.
TCT Federal Credit Union has provided this program free of charge to local schools, including those above. This program is online but has supplemented workbooks as well, that are within the state curriculum requirements for personal finance education.
TCT CEO Curt Cecala has said, “too often students get out of school and they just aren’t ready for the financial roller coasters life can give us. Banzai teaches students to navigate those twists and turns and come out on top.”
Ms. Lynne Blake is the ninth and tenth-grade business teacher at Ballston Spa High School who initiated contact with Banzai. She needed financial sponsors in order to do the program, so Blake reached out to several financial institutions and TCT Federal Credit Union responded.
“Basically, we put up the money to pay for the workbooks each student receives. The rest of the lessons are set up online,” said Kate Shoemaker, marketing manager at TCT Federal Credit Union.
“It’s really cool the way it’s done. It’s based on a choose your own adventure style. Similar to that old Oregon Trail computer game. They do the program once as a lesson and then at the end is a game that the students have to get through on their own, it usually takes them about three tries to get it right,” Shoemaker said.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t started using Banzai yet, but it looks great! It uses real-world scenarios and I think the students will love it,” Blake said.
To access the program, teachers may contact the credit union or the company directly at www.tctfcu.teachbanzai.com or call 888-8-BANZAI.