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Local author shares lessons in financial literacy with students at Archbishop Bergan Elementary

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jan 10, 2024

FREMONT, Neb (KMTV) — As a childrens author Julia Cook has made a career of translating important life lessons for her young readers.

And on Wednesday she made a stop in her hometown to unveil her latest work.

"This book talks to kids about the importance of the four things, earning, saving, giving and spending responsibly," said Cook.

Cook's shared her latest book, "I am Money."

The book shares important life lessons about the value of savings and how money doesn't define someone's value.

Lessons that are well known in the halls of Archbishop Bergan Elementary.

"Our whole focus for our kids is to make them as well rounded as they can be and ready for our global community. Really financial literacy is a big piece of that," said Lori McIntyre the principal at Archbishop Bergan Elementary.

The student's get their feet wet in the world of finance through a unique partnership with RVR banking, where they bring the banking experience to the kids.

"I say I hire them, but we pretty much pay them with a pizza and a t-shirt. But they come in and they are the ones who run the bank every single week," said Cindy Slykhuis with RVR Bank.

"So we walk in, we set it all up and then we let the kids in and we help them," said Talan Powers a 6th grader at Archbishop Bergan.

The students get a check for the amount they saved during their time in elementary school, with some saving over $1000.

Archbishop Bergan is in its 14th year of the partnership with RVR and through the years McIntyre has seen the tradition continue with older students inspiring their younger peers.

"My brother used to bring in money all the time and I used to do that to, I got signed up and now I bring money every Tuesday," said Jordyn Werner, a 5th grader at Archbishop Bergan.

For Cook the visit to Archbishop Bergan wasn't just for the kids. She is taking her latest work on a nationwide tour and wanted to get some practice in with her hometown crowd.

"I called Bergen and said can I come do it with your kids and practice? So this is a practice run for a really fun program and these kids will be heads up honest with me to tell me, does it stink? Does it not?" Said Cook.