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Middle School gets Mad about Money

Two Mad About Money financial literacy theater presentations were held at New Richmond Middle School on Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. and 2:10 p.m.

The productions involved short skits and audience interaction to create performances that not only entertain the students, but teach some real-life money skills.

Actors from The National Theatre for Children donned costumes and gathered input from the student audience for their performance. The duo presented topics on four basic money-managing skills: how to prioritize needs and wants; the difference between cash and credit; all about investing; and the importance of forming a savings habit.

The state of Wisconsin is stepping up its efforts to teach financial literacy to its youth. The Wisconsin Department of Instruction has laid out plans to educate students in several areas of financial responsibility, including money management; credit and debt management; planning, saving and investing; and becoming a critical consumer.

The Mad About Money program, sponsored locally by WESTconsin Credit Union (WCU), helps schools reach their financial literacy goals by providing a personal finance program that uses a combination of live theatre, classroom lessons and parental involvement to encourage middle school children to save. The program has been implemented at schools nationwide, and WCU provides the program annually to schools in Amery, Menomonie and Woodville.

The presentation gives students ideas on how to apply textbook financial situations to real life, in an effort to help them become better spenders and savers now, and wiser borrowers as adults.

According to sources, an estimated 80 percent of Wisconsin students work during their high school careers, and nearly one-third has personal checking accounts and credit cards in their own names. Additionally, personal bankruptcies have increased 105 percent over the past 15 years.

WCU also offers other financial literacy programs to students, including an informative and engaging Web site for children and teenagers, which can be accessed through the Student $avers section at; speakers on any financial topic; full-color newsletters; credit union tours; complimentary classroom sets of brass|MAGAZINE to area high schools; and more.