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'Crazy About Credit' dishes out financial ed

Wesley Chapel High School senior Shealovea Alexander, 18, center, was called on stage to perform with National Theatre for Children actors Katrina Kmak, 24, left, and Ryan Knox, 32, during a Crazy About Credit skit last week.

MICHELE MILLER | Times

Wesley Chapel High School senior Shealovea Alexander, 18, center, was called on stage to perform with National Theatre for Children actors Katrina Kmak, 24, left, and Ryan Knox, 32, during a Crazy About Credit skit last week.

WESLEY CHAPEL — Getting that credit card application, it seems, is just another rite of passage for those getting ready to move beyond high school. Haven't gotten yours yet? Just wait till you hit your first sporting event at college next year.

The offers from banks marketing directly to students on campus can be enticing: free T-shirts, sunglasses and other kinds of trendy merchandise just for signing up. But credit card spending can lead to a world of trouble — or at least some years of financial stress — for students and perhaps, the parents who end up bailing their kids out.

A little financial education now may head those problems off.

At least that's the thought behind Crazy About Credit, an interactive, improvisational and often silly theatrical show that targets high school students who might not know what a "grace period" or "credit disclosure" is or how much more their purchases will cost in the end if they just pay the "minimum payment" on that monthly credit card bill.

Last week, Pasco students were treated to two showings held at the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel and the Center for the Arts at River Ridge. The financial educational show, presented by the National Theatre for Children, is being offered to schools free of charge in the Tampa and Jacksonville areas first-come, first-served.

Students are treated to a four-skit interactive comedy featuring two actors and a couple of student volunteers. Schools are also provided with some follow-up educational materials that can be presented in math, economics and life-management classes.

Shelley Carrino, an assistant principal from Wesley Chapel High, was quick to make sure Crazy About Credit made it to her school.

"Unfortunately, kids these days get bombarded with credit card offers in college," she said. "We want to teach our kids to be more independent — more responsible."

And if they're laughing while learning about the pitfalls of interest rates and late fees, well that's great, too.

Fast facts

To learn more

For information on Crazy About Credit and the National Theatre for Children, visit www.nationaltheatre.com/ntccom.

For tips on credit card use, visit:

• www.schoolwork.org/student-credit-cards.html

• www.consumerjungle.org

• www.financial-education-icfe.org/credit_card_spending_tips/index.asp.

'Crazy About Credit' dishes out financial ed 01/27/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 3:32pm]
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