It’s not easy to motivate teen students.Parents and teachers need all the help they can get, and this school year marks a decade since Zions Bank began doing its part. Since 2003, the bank’s Pays for A’s program has paid hardworking Utah and Idaho students for more than half a million report card A’s.

Adding to the count is Dane Stewart, a Kanab High School sophomore who won a $100 scholarship savings account in the program’s fall drawing. Kanab Financial Center Manager Joe Houston surprised Stewart with his winnings during a Dec. 10 morning school announcement. 

Educational motivators are crucial. Nearly half of all high school students are chronically disengaged at school, according to findings released last year by the Center on Education Policy at George Washington University.

“Money is a powerful incentive,” said Houston. “This program is a free tool parents and teachers can use to point their student toward the goal of straight A’s on a report card. We even see some parents match the money from Zions Bank.”

Houston gives the following tips for making the most of the Pays for A’s program:

Celebrate! Parents should bring students with them to a Zions Bank financial center so the student can be publicly praised. Make it an outing with a special treat such as ice cream afterward.

•Get the word out. Educators can let students and parents know about the program during the school year, and track the dollar amount their students could earn for report card A’s. 

•Take the long view. Help your student understand how interest works over time as their money grows in a Pays for A’s savings account.

The Pays for A’s program is open to all Utah and Idaho students ages 13 to 18. To participate, students bring their most current term-end report card into any Zions Bank location. They’ll receive $1 per “A” deposited into their savings accounts, or .50 cents per “A” if they opt for cash.  For each “A” on their report cards, students are entered to win one of 150 regional scholarship prizes worth $100 and one grand prize worth $1,000 in each state.

Teens need not be customers of Zions to participate. Contest entry deadlines and full contest details are available online at www.zionsbank.com/pays4as.