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An illustration of a newspaper.
An illustration of a newspaper.
An illustration of a newspaper.

Student pair creates STCU financial ed book for kids.

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Dan Hansen
(509) 344-2208 

"Ping's Pennies" features spendthrift penguin.

The credit union has teamed up with two area students to promote smart money habits with Ping’s Pennies, a story of a spendthrift penguin and his animal friends learning about saving and sharing with others.

[march 3, 2020]

The 36-page book was written by Kennedy Hartzell, 12, of Post Falls, Idaho, and illustrated by 15-year-old Paris Burtner of Richland, Wash. Designed for students in kindergarten through first grade, it will be used by STCU’s Community Relations team for their financial education outreach in classrooms around the region.

Cover of Ping's PenniesHartzell, a seventh grader at River City Middle School, came up with the story idea with her mother, former STCU Community Relations financial educator Marcee Hartzell. Kennedy also had guidance from her teacher, Tammy Gay.

“My mom would go to classrooms to teach kids about money,” Kennedy said. “We thought she needed a book to help more kids to learn when to save and when to spend.”

Burtner is the stepdaughter of STCU Community Relations Manager Elizabeth Burtner.

“Illustrating the book was a lot of fun, but it also taught me about everything that goes into the printing and production of a book,” said Paris, a sophomore at Richland High School. “I’m excited for kids to learn about saving with Ping and his friends.”

The book continues STCU’s free financial education efforts in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, which provide K-12 students with free tools to make good financial decisions, including easy-to-adopt curricula and activities that are mapped to Washington State Learning Standards. In 2019, STCU financial educators reached 11,617 students in 541 classrooms.

“Ping’s Pennies continues our long tradition of providing impactful and fun financial education in schools,” said Traci McGlathery, STCU’s Director of Community Relations. “Ping and friends are approachable characters kids can relate to as they learn about how to save, share, and spend.”

About STCU

Founded by educators in 1934, STCU has more than 201,000 members, $3.3 billion in assets and 24 branch locations in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.