Business and Finance Academy looking for partner

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 13, 2003

In 1999, Troy City Schools superintendent Hank Jones traveled to schools in central Florida to observe how they helped better prepare their students for careers and college.

The creation of the academies, which are shared by Troy City and Pike County school systems, resulted from the trip.

Soon, the Business and Finance Academy, housed at Pike County High School, will have a new home and a new piece of curriculum.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

First National Bank in Brundidge has partnered with Pike County Schools to provide a working bank for Business and Finance Academy students. First National Bank has always employed high school students and has seen a need for additional training for quite sometime.

&uot;We had seen a need for some time that students needed additional training as far as finance and credit,&uot; CEO and President Jimmy Ramage said.

Ramage said he and other bank officials expressed their concerns to the Pike County school board.

&uot;The school board was very supportive,&uot; he said. &uot;They came up with that idea and presented it to us. The result was a consolidation of thoughts.&uot;

Before jumping in head first, Ramage said the bank and the school board had thorough discussions. He even traveled to Florida to see how one worked. Other bankers he talked to nationwide said the student-run bank would be a good investment.

The school system will provide the building and the bank will furnish all the necessary equipment. Ramage's staff will also train the students.

The bank will be completely student-run and open to high school students from all three high schools and faculty. Ramage said he hopes to be fully operational by the fall of 2004. Ramage hopes to eventually expand it into an actual branch open to the community.

Pike County Superintendent Mark Bazzell said he is excited about the bank's interest in helping the school, but he is still looking for another business to fill another room in the building.

&uot;We are still looking for additional partners,&uot; he said. &uot;There are a lot of other opportunities.&uot;

Bazzell said he would like to see an insurance company come into the new building much the same way First National Bank is. He said the benefits would be advantageous to both the students and the business.

&uot;They will have the work experience and the academic preparation to come in as an employee after they graduate,&uot; he said.

Ramage couldn't agree more.

&uot;I think it's a great idea,&uot; he said. &uot;We are going to get back far more than we put into it.&uot;

He said the students they work with are potential customers and employees. He also said the endeavor will be a &uot;real learning experience for the bank and the staff.&uot;