THERE was jubilation in St Mary’s Secondary, Macroom, last week when the news came from Dublin that the school’s Build a Bank team had won the All-Ireland final of the competition.
Six transition year students from the school – Caoimhe Moynihan, Hanna Donovan, Miriam Murnane, Katie Sheehan, Jessica Buckley and Savannah Hickey –along with their teacher, Arlene O’Donoghue and AIB student officer, Eleanor Hickey, had travelled to the RDS in Dublin to compete in the All-Ireland final of the AIB Build a Bank Challenge and were declared overall winners and national champions by the panel of expert judges.
The girls had participated in the regional final of the competition in Cork in early February where they delivered their four-minute winning presentation on stage to all of the students, bank officials and teachers present and to a team of three judges from the AIB.
The girls fought off very strong competition to secure their place in last week’s national final. The top 48 winning School Bank teams, winners from each of the regional finals around the country, qualified for the national finals and the St Mary’s team were declared winners and awarded the top prize of €5,000.
The AIB Build a Bank Challenge sees a team of six students, selected to set up and manage a bank in the school, getting involved in everything from sourcing new customers and opening AIB accounts to encouraging regular savings and exploring new ways to bank, such as phone and internet banking. The St Mary’s bank this year was based around a galaxy theme, with their slogan being ‘Taking your Savings out of this World!’
The Build a Bank programme links directly to the business curriculum and is an excellent, practical preparation for learning about running a business. Business teacher Arlene O’Donoghue feels that ‘taking part in this competition is extremely beneficial to the students as they learn so many valuable life skills.’