Thrifty Ma­raud­ers Op­er­at­ing Their Own Credit Union

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - West Oahu Islander - By NI­COLE KATO

Waipahu High School stu­dents now have ac­cess to their own fully fur­nished credit union fa­cil­ity, which was made pos­si­ble through a part­ner­ship with Hawai­iUSA Fed­eral Credit Union.

The new Stu­den­tOper­ated Credit Union (SOCU) is the first to have a ded­i­cated space right on a school cam­pus, and it is de­signed to look like an ac­tual Hawai­iUSA Fed­eral Credit Union branch.

To keep with the re­al­life theme, the Nov. 21 grand open­ing in­cluded en­ter­tain­ment, as well as a for­mal bless­ing — just as an open­ing for any Hawai­iUSA branch would have.

“We’ve part­nered with Waipahu High School for sev­eral years now,” said Sta­cie Rosa, se­nior sales and ser­vice trainer with Hawai­iUSA Fed­eral Credit Union. “They were the first school to take on the SOCU, and we part­ner with them each year.”

Rosa took over as the pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor at the end of last year, and in that brief time has im­ple­mented changes, re­vi­sions and en­hance­ments to the pro­gram and cur­ricu­lum.

“We wanted to make it more real life for the stu­dents,” she ex­plained. “Prin­ci­pal (Keith) Hayashi des­ig­nated an ac­tual space for us on the cam­pus to have a per­ma­nent spot for our credit union.”

The new fa­cil­ity also fea­tures brand­ing, decor and fur­ni­ture rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Hawai­iUSA Fed­eral Credit Union.

For now, the Waipahu branch is open Thurs­days dur­ing the stu­dents’ lunch/re­cesss pe­riod, and only is avail­able to stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff.

The pur­pose be­hind the SOCU pro­gram is to ed­u­cate stu­dents and pro­vide them with real-life skills, such as bud­get­ing, writ­ing checks, man­ag­ing their sav­ings, the im­por­tance of sav­ings, and re­tire­ment plan­ning.

The pro­gram also delves into ca­reer plan­ning and ac­tiv­i­ties such as “dress for suc­cess,” which fea­tures pro­fes­sional dress and mock in­ter­views.

Other SOCU pro­grams can be found at Saint Louis School and Far­ring­ton High School, as well as two schools on Maui (Maui High School and Se­abury Hall). While th­ese schools uti­lize the SOCU pro­gram, Waipahu High School is the only one with a ded­i­cated space.

“The whole brand­ing of the branch (at Waipahu), is kind of our pi­lot for what’s to come even­tu­ally for our other schools,” Rosa ex­plained.

“We re­ally want to pro­vide them with the op­por­tu­nity to have real-life work ex­pe­ri­ence and learn about the fi­nan­cial in­dus­try, en­rich­ing the whole life of the stu­dents be­fore they go out into the real world.”

Waipahu High School’s new Stu­dent-Op­er­ated Credit Union is a part of the school’s Academy of Fi­nance. Staffed by stu­dents, the credit union is avail­able for use by stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff.

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