Soon, Lake Catholic students will find financial literacy and work experience in their own halls.
The school will partner with to offer savings accounts, money management tips and more with a high school branch. Named the SmartStart Branch, the credit union opens Sept. 24 in the atrium, opposite the welcome desk.
Don't expect to see parents and other customers crowding around the portable teller counter, though.
"It's a branch run by the students for the students," Cardinal CEO Christine Blake said. "We thought this would be a very good learning experience for the students."
The branch will operate three days a week during four lunch periods, Lake Catholic President Sal Miroglotta said. Two students will work during each period, on a rotating basis. Cardinal personnel began interviewing students this week.
The SmartStart Branch arrives shortly after the Ohio Department of Education requested that high schools bolster their financial education. Miroglotta believes the branch will add a real-world compliment to Lake Catholic's junior-year curriculum, which now includes banking basics and information about loans and credit cards.
"This is real, live hands-on experience," he said. "If you look at education today, this is the type of thing that resonates with students."
Blake, a Lake Catholic graduate, agreed, adding that the project gives Lake Catholic students the chance to learn financial skills that others don't pick up until college.
"(Most) students do not know how to run a checking account," she said. "They get sent to college and the workforce to figure it out, as opposed to practicing in a very save environment."
Student tellers will also spend time with Cardinal representatives, Blake said. They will provide job interview tips and insight on marketing, information technology and other aspects of the credit union.
"We're using this to take every opportunity as a teaching tool," Blake said.
The credit union's student members will create their own savings goals for the school year as well as a larger, undecided goal for the entire school.
"I believe we are a trailblazer (in the region) for this," Miroglotta said. "Honestly, I don't know of any schools within reasonable distance that have anything like this.
"What a great opportunity."
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