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CFO Jeff Atwater Commends Wolfson High School and VyStar for Giving Students Real-Life, Hands-On Financial Experience


Contact: Anna Alexopoulos
(850) 413-2842
JACKSONVILLE—As part of his ongoing Your Money Matter$ initiative, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today commended teachers and students at Samuel W. Wolfson High School’s magnet school for offering students a solid financial future through real-life experience and hands-on training via a VyStar student-run credit union on campus.
Wolfson High School’s Academy of Business, Finance and Law, which began in 1991, has 160 students in the program that includes specialized finance courses, on-the-job summer internships and various activities that give students the opportunity for an in-depth study of financial services. VyStar Credit Union partnered with the school to launch Duval County’s first campus branch as a way to further the financial lessons being taught in the classroom. It now employs 11 students.
“I would like to commend these students for taking the initiative in preparing for their own futures, and I applaud Wolfson High School and VyStar for creating this practical, hands-on learning experience,” CFO Atwater said at a press conference held today in the credit union. “As we educate and empower our young people about financial situations they may encounter in their lives, we are decreasing the rate of bankruptcy while giving their generation a jump on achieving financial success.”
The students who are employed at Vystar open accounts, make deposits and give advice to other students about saving and budgeting; they also conduct all types of transactions just as typical VyStar employees, except making loans. In addition to operating the branch, students also are provided a marketing budget and are responsible for devising their own marketing plans, including student-delivered classroom financial literacy presentations.
“The ‘Wolfpack’ is honored to participate in the community partnership with VyStar Credit Union,” Wolfson High School Principal, Dr. David Garner said. “And as the students selected to work in the branch are actually VyStar employees, they have an opportunity to work in their neighborhood branch and earn a paycheck. What a unique opportunity to earn money and learn about money management in the same high school program!”
“This is a unique opportunity for VyStar to play a role in educating our young people in Northeast Florida on financial matters that could affect them over their entire life.  We are proud to be a part of the VyStar Academy of Business and Finance at Wolfson and to be working with our school system,” said VyStar Credit Union’s President/CEO Terry West.
Following the press conference, CFO Atwater played a game of Financial Football with 40 students. Available online at, Financial Football combines the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty.  The program is provided in partnership with VISA and the NFL.
For more information or to access financial tips, calculators and information, visit CFO Atwater’s Your Money Matter$ website at
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services.  CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.