Warner youth win Farmers Union PSA contest

Five Warner High School students won the South Dakota Farmers Union Public Service Announcement (PSA) contest with their submission titled “Financial Fitness.”

Developed as part of S.D. Farmers Union Jr. REAL (Rural Economic and Leadership Development Program) program, the Making $ense of Credit and Finance PSA Contest was designed to drive the message of the impact that maintaining a good credit score and making wise financial decisions can have on teens throughout their lives.

“Credit and finance may not be the most interesting topics for teens to think about – in fact, I’m sure many teens consider it a boring topic, so our hope is this contest helped teens absorb valuable information while having fun,” said Kristen Fink, Rural Development Director for S.D. Farmers Union.

Traiton Peck, 17, says the contest accomplished what it set out to do. “I didn’t really think about my credit score until I worked on developing this PSA. I’d see commercials on TV, but I didn’t understand what they were talking about. Now, I’m going to make sure I keep a good credit score so when I am older I can get loans if I need them,” said Peck, who works for an area farmer over the summer months.

His classmate, Shelby Braun, 17, agrees. “Now when I get paid, I put some of my paycheck in my savings account instead of putting it all into my checking,” said Braun, who spends her summers working on her family’s farm.

Peck and Braun were two of the five students who worked together to develop the PSA video. The other five students were Derrek Tuszka, Christy Achen and Ryan Heilman.

The students’ general business teacher, Pam Lane, says the timing of the message brought by the Farmers Union, Jr. REAL program could not have been better.

“Students get tired of hearing financial responsibility message from us or from their parents, so hearing it from someone else is perfect,” said Lane, who spent the first part of her career working in financial aid for a state university, where she witnessed students having to drop out of college to work full-time to pay off credit card debt. “It’s never too early to teach teens about financial responsibility and how to manage credit cards.”

The students’ PSA video will be hosted on the Farmers Union website, and each student will receive a monetary reward.

Jr. REAL is part of Farmers Union Youth Programs. It brings leadership development training to rural schools across South Dakota. Along with Jr. REAL, Farmers Union hosts several camps throughout the summer.

–S.D. Farmers Union