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For Immediate Release: New Date January 18, 2011

Media contacts:
Zoraya E. Lee-Hamlin, 973-332-4381,
Terry Corallo, Director of Communications, Paterson Public Schools, 973-321-2430,

Credit Union to Open Unprecedented Student-Run Branch at
Paterson’s John F. Kennedy High School

NJ’s Paterson School District partnership will be the first of its kind in the state

On January 18, 2011 at 10 AM, the John F. Kennedy High School Knights (61 Preakness Avenue, Paterson, NJ) will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the beginning of a unique partnership between Paterson Public Schools and North Jersey Federal Credit Union.  Appropriately named “The Castle,” the JFK Knights will open the first, curriculum-based Student-Run Banking Program in New Jersey.

Twenty-seven (27) students from grades 10-12 have already undergone comprehensive training and are prepared to operate the new credit union branch at their high school.  Although a teacher and a full-time North Jersey Federal employee will provide supervision, the students will have the primary responsibility for the success of this branch. As participants in JFK High School’s Business, Technology, and Marketing Academy, they will even develop marketing promotions and creative initiatives for their branch.

“This is an exciting and significant day for our school district, and we thank North Jersey Federal Credit Union for their support and partnership,” said Dr. Donnie Evans, State District Superintendent, Paterson Public Schools.  “Our district’s top priorities include establishing effective academic programs and strengthening family and community engagement.  Last year, we implemented a High School Renewal Initiative specifically designed to improve student achievement and increase graduation rates.  By offering a student-run credit union at one of our high schools, our students will receive firsthand financial experience that will better prepare them for their future, while also providing a beneficial service to the parents and teachers of this school community.”

In the State of New Jersey, core curriculum standards on Personal Financial Literacy require that all students develop skills and strategies that promote personal and financial responsibility. These skills include financial planning, savings, investment, and charitable giving in the global economy. Courses are offered on these subjects, however experience is certainly one of the best teachers.

Lourdes Cortez, President/CEO of North Jersey Federal, is a JFK High School alum.  She has gone on to become the first Latina to serve as the CEO of a credit union in the United States, but she has not forgotten her strong roots in Paterson. Reflecting Cortez’s values, North Jersey Federal Credit Union also has a strong commitment to the communities it serves.

“North Jersey Federal strives to provide community initiatives that will have a big impact,” says Cortez. “This banking program gives students practical experience beyond the classroom. It is one of the first steps to not only helping them achieve curriculum standards, but also toward building a solid base for their financial futures.”

Through participation in this program and the completion of coursework, the student employees will have the academic and practical training to work as bank tellers at other financial institutions.