ISD banking capstone course

By Mike Genet
The Examiner

Even if the class and now her internship don’t turn into a job in that exact field, Cailyn Cordell knows the banking high school capstone course she recently completed through Blue Ridge Bank will pay dividends down the road. 

Cordell, who graduated from Truman High School over the weekend, was one of 10 Independence School District students who completed the banking capstone course as part of the ISD Academies. It marked the second year of the capstone course, in which students learn the ins and outs and banking and assist in running the Blue Ridge Bank branch on the Independence Square – the first student-assisted standalone bank in the nation. Cordell will to continue working there as an intern this summer 

“I like getting the real-world experience,” said Cordell, who plans to take a year of college courses at Metropolitan Community College through the state’s A-Plus program before transferring to Missouri State University and majoring in business. “I’ve always taken business classes since I’ve been in high school. I signed up in ISD and ended up in the skills and finance class.” 

Cailyn Cordell working at the Blue Ridge bank on the Independence Square.

Cordell and her classmates were in the actual bank part of one of the days, and the branch has space to serve as a classroom. They learned “all different types of things” about money – interests, stocks, funds, how to handle it. 

“We learned how to talk and interact with customers, and we’ve also done cool stuff, like refilling the vault,” she said.  

Like Cordell and others, Shaniya Reliford completed the capstone course before she graduated from William Chrisman High School last December, and she’s been working at the bank’s Sterling Avenue branch since graduation. 

“It’s not just like reading a book, taking a test; I can get the real hands-on,” Reliford said in a district video. “I learned about stuff people probably thought you wouldn’t, like insurance, and I learned about budgeting.” 

Reliford’s bosses were impressed by how much she did learn and was ready to use. Branch Manager Linda Edgely said that in three decades, she’d never seen a teller as ready to apply what she learned in school. 

Added Robin Shaffer, the teller supervisor, in that same video, “Most people have a two-week training period, we probably had her out in a drawer the first week. She’s just been ahead of the game from the get-go.” 

Learning about budgeting, as well as consumer rights and responsibilities and evaluating costs and benefits, are skills that will benefit students even if they don’t go on to various banking jobs. Cordell said she realizes that and certainly appreciates that aspect of her parents’ lives. 

“They were ecstatic,” she said about when they learned of her taking the capstone course. “They loved that idea of me getting out of the classroom and getting that real-world experience.” 

“Even if I don’t know (my major), I’ll have my sources,” Cordell said. “For right now, just going to be working there, and maybe I’ll continue to work there and maybe move up.”