Investing in our Future

Loraine Himmelhaver

An investment in local high school students made 22 years ago has been paying dividends for both those students and Meade County Bank ever since.

Meade County Bank has sponsored Tidal Wave Bank (TWB) at Meade County High School (MCHS) for 22 years now, and holds the distinction of being one of the longest running high school banks in the state. In fact, as far as we know, it is the only school in the state to have two branches on campus; one in the freshman academy and one in the senior academy, which were both provided by Meade County Bank.

Meade County Bank Assistant Vice President Darlene Hayden has been the bank advisor for Tidal Wave Bank since its conception in the fall of 2000. Darlene has worked with the current high school bank advisor, Kelly Wilson, for the past 20 years.

“Kelly Wilson’s passion to help these students excel is the biggest key to its success,” Meade County Bank President Matt Pike said. “I’m so thankful for Kelly and Darlene’s stewardship of the program.”

Darlene and Kelly have worked hard over the years to build Tidal Wave Bank into the program it is today. The Kentucky Department of Education recognized TWB during the 2022-23 school year as an exceptional Career Technical Education program, and TWB received a one-time $7,000 grant. Only 34 showcases across the state were selected, and TWB was the only Finance Career Pathway selected. 

Tidal Wave Bank will use the grant to expand its program by adding a mobile teller station and some professional signage. TWB presented their new mobile teller station at the Capitol in Frankfort to the governor, state representatives and senators on Feb. 21, 2023. They also presented it to the Kentucky School Board Association and its members at the Galt House in Louisville, Ky., three days later.

Meade County Bank also made two sizable donations this year to Meade County High School, and Darlene was instrumental in making these donations happen. The first donation was a 72” LED digital advertising monitor. The money earned will be spent on varsity sports and up to $1,000 of the proceeds will fund a Tidal Wave Bank scholarship. An ATM, which is located in the lobby of Meade County High School, was also donated. Tidal Wave Bank employees assist a Meade County Bank employee with stocking and balancing the ATM, which is an excellent learning tool. Additionally, fees earned from the ATM will be donated to the TWB class to cover various expenses.

Tidal Wave Bank is operated by a dozen high school juniors and seniors and offers the following services: savings accounts, loans, check cashing and making change. Tidal Wave Bank positions include a president, accountants, loan and collection officers, tellers, marketing and auditors.

Darlene conducts interviews each school year and helps place TWB students in a position that best suits them. All student employees also receive experience outside of the classroom by spending two days (one day in the fall and one day in the spring) job shadowing employees at Meade County Bank.

Matt and Darlene also sit down with all of the Tidal Wave Bank employees during the students’ yearly board meeting held at Meade County Bank’s main branch in Brandenburg.

“Over the last 22 years, Tidal Wave Bank has been one of the best investments of Meade County Bank,” Matt said. “It has helped prepare juniors and seniors for financial careers, many of whom decided to work at Meade County Bank.”