Lerner CEEE helps teach personal finance

High school students from all three Delaware counties were represented at the Delaware State Personal Finance Challenge (PFC) tournament in Newark recently. They were invited by the University of Delaware Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE) at the Alfred Lerner School of Business and Economics. This event was sponsored by Bank of America. This year’s PFC competition was the first personal competition held by CEEE since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Nine teams from eight schools competed for a chance to win $500 per team member and teacher, a chance to qualify for the National Championship and an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City.

High schools participating in the PFC included St Marks, Middletown, Odessa and two teams from Odyssey Charter, Smyrna, Newark Charter, Woodbridge and Appoquinimink. Each team consists of four members. The challenge consisted of three rounds of test exercises with students testing individually in the first two rounds and teaming up for the third. Scores from each round are logged and the leaderboard is all updated on results throughout the day. In between exams, Bank of America volunteers gave fun gifts during a trivia competition, conducted while the results were tabulated. Students from each team scored the most points during each of the first two rounds of the test, and had the opportunity to choose from a wall of cash envelopes filled with prize money ranging from $5 to $20.

“PFC offers high school students a fun and competitive experience in which they can build, demonstrate and reward their knowledge of wise money management skills,” said Jill Colbert, CEEE Personal Finance Coordinator. “Teams have the opportunity to showcase their expertise in the concepts of income earning, spending, saving, investing, credit management and risk management.”

Providing engagement opportunities to enhance this learning makes it easier for teachers to implement personal finance education to address financial literacy standards in Delaware, Colbert said.

A group of students from the Newark Charter personal finance club scored the most points after the three rounds of challenges, and also beat students from St. Mark’s High School during the Quiz Bowl – a quick battle of questions where the top two scored teams tied for a whistle round Exciting and fierce competition.

“It’s a great opportunity for the students to go out and show how much they’ve learned from a very hands-on class,” said Justin Miller, a personal finance teacher at Newark Charter.

“Teachers stop me in the hallway and say, ‘Oh my God. I wish I had this class when I was in high school,’” Miller said, adding that word of mouth from students who took his class previously — which has a CEEE-based curriculum — made him famous. They learn about credit, checkbook balancing, retirement planning, stock market investing and insurance.

“It’s great to see that the students have the opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned. Then earn some money — that’s even better,” he said.

Every Delaware school where personal finance is taught is invited to have students compete in an online preliminary round to qualify for the state finals. Topics covered included lessons from the CEEE Keys to Financial Success course, which includes personal finance topics such as earnings and income, protection and insurance, the use of credit when purchasing goods and services, savings and financial investment.

Bank of America, which has sponsored the competition for more than a decade and since its inception, has introduced volunteers to the event who served as moderators and judges.

“At Bank of America, we have one goal and that is to improve financial lives. That is why we believe so deeply in the work that the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship is doing to educate our youth about personal finance and economics, to give students a great foundation for their financial futures,” said Connie Montana, Director of Community Relations and Vice President The first president of Bank of America. Montana applauds the teachers and thanks them for preparing the students and taking the time to bring them to the event.

“Congratulations to every team and every one of you for being here,” Montana said. “You are already investing in yourselves. You are already ahead of the game. A lot of students in our country do not receive personal financing or economic education.”

Noah Kassem participated as a member of the state champion Newark Charter School team. He and his friends, a freshman at school, rehearsed for the event together and coordinated their matching wardrobes of pink shirts, to match their pants and ties.

“Last night we were talking amongst ourselves, and we wanted something a little subtle, something a little elegant; something that would really stand out in front of the crowd,” Qasim said. Image”.

If the win wasn’t already impressive, Alex Esenian, who served as a spokesman for the Newark Charter team during the Quiz Bowl, shared that he’s heading to Georgetown University in the fall to continue his business studies and that he already has a ROTH IRA as a high school student. While talking, he and his friends plan to invest instead of spending $500 on the individual they won.

“When we started preparing for this competition, we all knew personal finance was important, but we didn’t know as much as we know it now,” said Esnian. “So, the things that we learned in the competition, we are now able to take and apply in our own world, focusing on getting better to make sure we are financially free or independent as we come of age.”

St. School students came. Mark’s High School is in second place with $250 cash prizes each. Will Simpson, a personal finance teacher, has been in the event for five years now, taking the championship once and finishing second twice. He said his students are always eager to compete in the PFC.

“For them, money is really important, but I hear them say things like, ‘I know how to be an adult.’ That’s a great testament. They love it,” Simpson said.

A group of sophomores from Woodbridge High School in Greenwood begged their teacher to drive them for an hour and a half from Kent to New Castle County for a competition. The students started taking Josh Getka’s personal finance class in September and started learning a lot of new information that was previously obscure to them – about topics like Social Security tax, investment, interest rates and the like.

Getka said the area he studies reports on has a high poverty rate and is home to many people learning to speak English as a second language. They are preyed upon by payday loan agencies and predatory student loan practices. They do not have the financial knowledge to combat this. Empowering themselves with personal financial knowledge and skills provides them with alternatives and ways to avoid these situations in the future.

Getka said he hopes a personal finance class will one day become a graduation requirement for every high school student in Delaware, but the state doesn’t exist yet. For him, he was glad that 24 students had signed up for the personal finance lesson, and that many of them eagerly wanted to compete in the PFC.

“It is a proud moment to come here and watch it. No matter how they perform today, I know that they are better prepared for tomorrow.”

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