Super Bank, our journey to the Regional Finals
When AIB Athenry first came in to talk to us about the build-a-bank challenge, none of us had heard of this competition before. Its aim is to open a bank within the school and encourage students to open bank accounts through AIB.
Any transition year that had filled out a form was interviewed. Then Derval came back to us in January, to tell us our positions in the bank. Super Bank has 6 members. The 4 mandatory positions are:
Lalie Crowley – Bank Manager
Adam Hession – Chief Operating Officer
Tara Duggan – Marketing Manager
Grainne Forde – Financial Controller
The last two members had fluid roles, which meant they could choose their positions themselves:
Pedro Silva – Public Relations Officer
Rachael Middleton – Customer Service Officer
Because of the musical that took place in December, we only had one day to write up our business plan. If we had it submitted in time, we would automatically be in the regional finals. We had to come up with a theme, (We picked Superheroes.) SMART aims and ideas for future projects that we could organize to attract customers. We also had to pick an area to specialize in; “Backing our Community”, “Backing our School”, or “Digital Banking”. We chose “Backing our Community” which meant we would have to find ideas to give back to the community, such as raising money and donating it to a local charity.
Our first opening
Our first opening had to be planned perfectly, as this would turn out to be a good starting point to get customers. We used a lot of our 100€ (given by AIB) to make it enjoyable for the students. We bought balloons and bunting, printed posters and leaflets to put all over the school, the week beforehand. We also had to find a room that we could set up in at lunch, music, the layout of the room, etc. We got the TY home economics class involved and they baked treats for that day and we held a raffle in aid of Athenry Cancer Care. Many students showed up and opened accounts, with the first years getting goody bags if they did. Our bank manager, Lalie was able to film and edit a video of the opening, which was posted on
Super Bank’s Youtube.
We reenacted the opening twice, for the Tuam Herald, and the Connaught Tribune.
Valentine’s Day & Pancake Tuesday
We organized special openings for Valentine’s Day and Pancake Tuesday to attract even more customers. On Valentine’s Day, we baked treats, held games and competitions, and had themed music in the background. On Pancake Tuesday, we had pancakes and toppings available for anyone who opened an account or who lodged money into their account. This helped us gain more publicity and new customers.
Ronan Greany talk, “Jeans and Jersey” day, and Athenry St Patrick’s Day Parade
To increase our chances of winning the competition, we organized numerous events within and outside of school to show our involvement in the community and in the school itself. Lalie Crowley, having done work experience with “The Dough Bros” was able to invite Ronan Greany (Co-founder of The Dough Bros) to do a speech in front of the Transition years, 5th year LCVP and LCA students. He talked about how he opened his own restaurant, the ups and downs, he came across along the way and encouraged us to stay focused on our dreams and never give up. His talk was very inspiring to the students who were present.
We also organized a “Jeans and Jersey” day, to raise money for Athenry Cancer Care. We got permission from the principal, and then started making announcements around the school. On the day, we all collected the money and found out that we raised 700€ in total. That day, some of us also organized fun PE games with a first year class to encourage being physically healthy.
Our last project was featuring in the Athenry St Patrick’s Day Parade. We met up with Maire, who is in charge of the running of the parade, a few weeks beforehand, and some of us headed for the Agricultural show shed every Saturday after that to get a float ready for the parade. We had a car and a trailer organized, and we painted posters and signs to make sure people in Athenry knew who we were. The day before the parade, our plans were crushed when the person who was supposed to drive us through the parade canceled at the last minute. Luckily, we managed to find someone else and we were back on track. The day of the parade there was a storm and although many participants dropped out because of the weather, we were brave and decided to go through with it. People loved the fact that we were dressed up in Superheroes, which the children also found fun. With all of our hard work, we were very confident going to the regionals the next Monday.
Regionals in Athlone
On top of all the events we organized, we had to get an exhibition, a power point presentation, two different speeches, props and decorations, pictures, costumes, posters, leaflets and different things to show off what we had done, ready to show the judges that we were ready to win. We filled up the bus that was taking us to the Radisson Blu in Athlone, leaving barely enough room for us to sit down. Once we got there, we were very nervous to find other very interesting banks from all around the county. We had 30 minutes to set up our stall and our one was the best in the room. We met with other schools and chatted about how nervous we were and how badly we wanted to win. We had to give a 10 minute informal speech and then a 2 minute formal sum up of what we did throughout the competition with the head judges. We were quite confident with what we had to offer, but sadly when the results were announced, we found out we hadn’t made the top 8 banks going through to the National finals in Dublin. Although, we didn’t win, we all are very happy with what we’ve done and we don’t regret getting involved in this project. We have all learned so much throughout the build a bank challenge and hope that the next TYs will manage to get to the Regional Finals and hopefully the Nationals. Clarin College had never had a bank that managed to get to the regional finals of the AIB build a bank challenge and we are proud that Super Bank has been the first.
Our Social Media:
Facebook: Super Bank
Youtube: Search “super bank athenry” or “super bank clarin college”
Instagram Twitter and Snapchat: @superbank2017