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Sayville Students Get a Lesson in Real Life Living

Local credit union provides presentation on financial and money management.

“What is the difference between a bank and a credit union?”

That's the big question posed when guest speakers from Teachers Federal Credit Union (TFCU) began a presentation about “The Basics of Banking” with eighth-grade students in Family and Consumer Science classes at Sayville Middle School.

This presentation on money-management was preparing the students for the Authentic Real-Life Activity culminating simulation called On Your Own. As part of the three-month, class simulation the students would be required to interview for a job, complete a monthly budget based on wages received, open a savings and checking account, choose an apartment, purchase or lease a car, all before “living” on their own. 

The TFCU representatives, Ms. Jennifer Gunn, Mr. Arthur Matz, and Ms. Tammy Toro, made their visit to the school over several days to explain banking. They gave a brief history of their financial institution to each class: “Founded in 1952, over 60 years ago by seven teachers, TFCU is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution which exists to serve its members. Each of the seven teachers had contributed $5 apiece to start the credit union. “

The students learned that banks are for-profit business corporations owned by private investors, governed by a board of directors chosen by the stockholders, and pay its customers interest on its money, while credit unions are a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution that offer members shares and dividends.

Other topics they discussed included:

Pay Yourself First

  • Habit that should be started once you get your first job (put a small amount of money away and should not be touched unless there is an emergency.

Direct Deposit

  • Your employer automatically puts your money into your banking and savings account as you direct them to.
  • Very convenient
  • Allowed to split monies into several amounts enabling you to save money.


  • Money you receive for monies you have in a savings account
  • Amount the bank may charge you for taking a loan taking out with them for a purchase such as a car or home.

Savings Accounts (examples)

  • Statement savings account
  • Club account
  • Money Market account
  • Certificate of Deposit (CD)


  • Money you add to your account using a deposit slip


  • Amount that a member may be charged for certain transactions

Balancing a Check Register

  • Credits and Debits

Offering examples for how to fill out a check or deposit/withdrawal slip correctly, the TFCU presenters invited students up to the Smart Board to demonstrate what they had learned.

Over the three-month period of the Authentic Real-Life Activity simulation, the students would be learning the responsibilities for daily living by providing themselves with food, paying their bills on time, and determining their needs and wants, such as purchasing stock, going on vacation, or buying themselves a computer or a new outfit.  While "playing" the simulation, they would also be responsible for maintaining their budget. 

“It is always interesting to hear the students’ responses after this Authentic Real-Life Activity simulation,” Family and Consumer Science teacher Cheryl Scantlebury remarked, “most learn that it sounds easy, but living on your own can be very expensive and not as easy as they originally thought.”


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