12th-Graders Handle the Money in Harlem


Students at Harlem’s Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change just got some after school job opportunities handed to them.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Capital One Bank branch on the school’s campus was held this morning, the third branch in the tri-state area to be housed at a school and run entirely by students. Now, are you financially smarter than a 12th-grader?

Capital One bank approached the Central Harlem school last year about opening a branch on the school’s campus that would be a full-service operation for the community. (There’s a similar branch upstate and on in New Jersey.) Juniors will be trained so that they can run the bank as seniors.

Thurgood Marshall Academy’s principal, Dr. Sandye Johnson, said that the 10 students selected for the program face a lot of responsibility: Not only do they have to run a bank branch, but they are also expected to instruct their peers on how to be financially savvy.

“We want to become a community that can make good financial decisions and this is a great start,” said Johnson, who hosted a student assembly this morning with Congressman Charles B. Rangel, U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

“This branch will be a vehicle for these students to be able to do early financial planning so that they will have the resources to plan appropriately for their futures,” says Johnson, who notes the majority of the 7th-12th grade student body come from working-class minority families. “If I had a program like this when I was a kid, I would have made better financial decisions and would have a better credit score.”