Commerce Bank and R.C. Centeno Elementary School Celebrate 5th Annual Opening of Centenoville Minitropolis®
(DEC. 18, 2019) LAREDO, Texas - Today, nearly 1,000 students and educators at R.C. Centeno Elementary School, alongside Commerce Bank, celebrated the 5th annual grand opening of Centenoville Minitropolis. Minitropolis® is a financial literacy program that provides students an opportunity to see how a community operates by giving them a variety of real-world positions in mini stores and mini-city government. The program was created by IBC Bank in 1996 and currently operates in more than 25 elementary schools across Texas.
Commemorating the occasion along with the students were Commerce Bank officers, Border Patrol agents, and school, city and county officials. During the opening ceremony, Commerce Bank President & CEO Ignacio Urrabazo, and other local officials addressed the students, faculty and visitors and commended the students and faculty at Centeno Elementary School for their hard work and dedication to such an important program.
"The Minitropolis® program prepares students for the social and financial situations they will experience in adulthood," said Urrabazo. "Commerce Bank believes in the importance of education and inspiring future generations to ‘Make It Happen.' We're excited for the students to experience the program for another year. It is truly wonderful to see these children grow up to become active, productive and engaged citizens of Laredo."
New to the mini city this year is the Wellness Center, managed by the second-grade students and the school's nurse. Commerce Bank and school staff implemented this idea after brainstorming how Minitropolis® could continue to meet student interests, encourage exploration of future job opportunities and promote and instill good hygiene practices.
"This program is an incredible way for our students to learn and apply valuable financial literacy principles to everyday situations in a hands-on setting," said Amabilia Gonzalez, Centeno Elementary School principal. "The lessons have helped us engage our students in learning, and have increased their attendance and attitudes about education. We're thrilled that we have the opportunity to introduce them to new and exciting career opportunities and are ready for the fifth year of Centenoville!"
This year, pre-k through fifth-grade students will again be managing Commerce Bank at Centenoville, Junior Border Patrol, Kinder Sweets, Centeno Mart, Centenoville City Council, Centenoville Post Office, La Pita Mangana Recycling Center, 2710 Buck Station, the Bienvenido Committee, and the IRS, in addition to the new Wellness Center. The Recycling Center and the Post Office are open throughout the school year, providing students the opportunity to write to pen pals and bring in items to be recycled.
Centenoville Minitropolis® opened at Centeno Elementary in 2014. Since then, the program has seen great success with student engagement and attendance. It is currently operated by 894 students and 95 staff including professionals, paraprofessionals, cafeteria personnel and custodial staff.
Commerce Bank at Centenoville teaches students about the importance of managing their money and skills like balancing a budget, writing checks, making deposits and withdrawing money. The bank is operated by fourth-grade students, overseen by the bank's student president and student vice president.
All students and teachers were involved in the creation and implementation of the Minitropolis® program. In order to learn the important financial literacy concepts that this program teaches, each grade level worked in the treasury department and IRS, sorting and counting "Centenoville Bucks." Fifth-grade students were elected to City Council positions, including a student Mayor of Centenoville.
About Commerce Bank
Commerce Bank's commitment to "We Make It Happen" reflects the bank's dedication to the growth and success of the customers and community it serves. Commerce Bank is a member of International Bancshares Corporation (NASDAQ: IBOC), a $12 billion multi-bank financial holding company headquartered in Laredo, Texas, with 189 facilities and 285 ATMs serving 89 communities in Texas and Oklahoma. International Bancshares Corporation was ranked 22nd on Forbes' prestigious list of 100 Best Banks in America in 2019. Commerce Bank has been serving the Laredo community since 1982 with a retail branch network of four locations. MEMBER FDIC / INTERNATIONAL BANCSHARES CORPORATION. Follow our Facebook page, @IBCBankWeDoMore. More information is available at ibc.com.