Sarah Nadarajan

Daily Point of Light # 4412 Jan 4, 2011

High school students have notoriously developed a reputation for using their parents as an unlimited ATM machine, seemingly unaware of any financial discipline.

Sarah Nadarajan dispels this stereotype. The West Salem High School student not only assists in running a credit union on the school campus, but she is project manager for a group of students who wrote a book to teach financial literacy to elementary students.

Students of West Salem High School graduate with skills beyond the core competencies of reading, writing and arithmetic. Thanks to collaboration with MaPS Credit Union many are graduating with business management skills and solid financial understanding. Under the guidance and mentoring of Credit Union employees, students operate and manage the school branch. The Titan branch of MaPS Credit Union provides a real life lab for business students and provides the entire student body an opportunity to develop important financial skills including developing a savings programs and learning to utilize banking services.

Sarah and a group of peers sought to expand the financial literacy program to include younger, area students. Sarah was instrumental in developing a creative Financial Literacy project for Chapman Hill Elementary School. She and a team of students wrote and self-published a book entitled “Billy’s Bike” to read to 2nd graders about the basic financial concept of savings. The team organized field trips for the four second grade classes to visit the Titan branch at the West Salem High School campus. The elementary students completed some age appropriate financial worksheets, toured the branch, counted real money and worked in the computer lab to complete online financial literacy games. The program reinforces math skills and the teachers are optimistic that applying math skills to real life situations will translate to improved math testing scores.

Sarah led a group who applied for a grant to fund the publishing of “Billy’s Bike” and won first place in a DECA competition for marketing students, documenting the growth of the entire financial literacy program.