Courtney Keleher, branch manager of Volt Credit Union inside Hillcrest High School, shares information with students about how to open a checking or savings account. (Photo by Joe Hadsall)

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Natalie Owens knows the competition for one of eight intern spots will be tough.

The junior at Hillcrest High School hopes to be one of the students working shifts inside a Volt Credit Union branch during the 2024-2025 academic year. Located right outside Hillcrest’s cafeteria, the credit union branch will be the place where interns will help fellow students, teachers and other patrons with deposits, withdrawals and other financial services. 

That is valuable experience for someone with aspirations of earning a double major in management and finance, Owens said.

“We’ll get a little more experience in the actual business world,” Owens said. “We also have the opportunity to talk to more people, and get more interaction. For me, if I’m going into business, I’ll have more opportunities and connections to the business world.”

With the branch already open and operational, members of the credit union celebrated a ribbon cutting May 2 with Springfield Public Schools officials. It marks the first time in Missouri that a credit union or bank has opened for business inside a school, said Chris Moss, CEO of Volt Credit Union. 

On campus credit union is a teaching tool

Representatives of Volt Credit Union and Springfield Public Schools celebrate a ribbon cutting for a branch inside Hillcrest High School. (Photo by Joe Hadsall)

Right now, the branch is staffed by one full-time employee. But next school year,  students who are enrolled in Hillcrest's business classes will get a chance to work shifts as tellers, performing all the same services. 

It’s a tremendous teaching opportunity, said Shad McGuire, a teacher in the school’s business management pathway. Students won’t keep their learning to financial matters. 

“As a society, we are looking for individuals who know how to treat human beings like human beings, how to be personable,” McGuire said. “There will also be banking content, but that’s really huge in the process of moving forward and helping them progress in their skill development.”

The interns will be selected, likely by the end of the spring semester, through an application process. 

McGuire said the positions will be fairly competitive, and he’s hoping that more will open up eventually. About 36 students could apply for the spots.

“They are part of the business management pathway, so they are already interested in business classes, and those business degrees and things like that,” McGuire said. “So they are already progressing forward, or learning entrepreneurship skills. I have students currently who are already starting their own businesses.”

Educating teenagers about money management

In addition to the interns who work behind the counter, the credit union will open up opportunities for Hillcrest students to develop financial literacy, as well as their own financial status. Courtney Keleher, branch manager, is also a certified financial counselor.

“That’s one of the things we’re going to use while we are here,” Moss said. “Finances are hard conversations to have, and they don’t happen in the home very often. Some parents don’t necessarily teach their kids about finances, so we are hoping we can have an impact in that.”

Moss said Hillcrest students can apply for checking or savings accounts from the on-campus Volt branch without a parent or guardian signature. This gives the opportunity for students without a home access to financial services that are hard to get otherwise, Moss said. A student can open an account with as little as $5. 

The branch will eventually offer a few features especially created for students, such as debit cards sporting Hillcrest's blue and orange colors and Hornet logo.

As part of the ribbon-cutting, a $1,000 scholarship was awarded to senior Jack Daugherty, a senior who plans to pursue veterinary studies at Kansas State University.

Joe Holcomb, president of the Hillcrest Parent Teacher and Student Association, said the branch was another way that Volt has helped support students, and thanked credit union board members and staff for a long history of support. He pointed out sponsorships and programs that benefited teachers, counselors, bus drivers and more.

“It’s allowed us to encourage those groups, and highlight the valuable work they do,” Holcomb said.

Joe Hadsall

Joe Hadsall is the education reporter for the Hauxeda. Hadsall has more than two decades of experience reporting in the Ozarks with the Joplin Globe, Christian County Headliner News and 417 Magazine. Contact him at (417) 837-3671 or More by Joe Hadsall