A team from Alliance High School placed first in the state Saturday in the regional competitions of the Personal Finance Challenge, sponsored by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, and will represent Nebraska in the national competition May 6 at the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, Mo.
Team members are Anthony Hare, Lane Applegarth, and Bailey O’Conner. Their teacher is Luke Shroyer.
Each member of the Alliance team will receive a $2,000 college savings scholarship from the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST), a division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office. Competitions took place at the UNL East Campus Union in Lincoln, the UNO College of Education in Omaha, and the UNL College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.
The second place team was from Lincoln Southeast High School. Team members are Madison Kraus, Taylor Hendricks, and Sonny Wimmer. Their teacher is Lindsay Tillinghast. Each member of the second-place team will receive a $1,000 college savings scholarship from NEST.
The third place team was from Omaha Northwest Magnet High School. Team members are Zoe Thorson, Jeromie Wade, Adam Strasser, and Brett Hillabrand. Their teacher is Susan Dimmitt. Each team member will receive a $500 NEST scholarship.
The teacher of each winning team will receive an iPad Air 2 tablet, courtesy NEST.
“This marks the fourth year the Treasurer’s Office, through our NEST program, has provided scholarships for Finance Challenge winners. We are happy to reward these high school students for their efforts to learn about personal finance and apply what they have learned to real-life situations,” said Treasurer Stenberg, who is Trustee of NEST.
Stenberg, who was one of the judges at the Omaha competition, said he was impressed with the students’ preparation, professionalism, and thoughtful approach to problem solving. In the face-to-face regional competitions, teams were presented with real-life financial situations and given time to prepare and present their solutions.
“The Personal Finance Challenge competition fits in well with my initiative to promote financial literacy education in Nebraska schools to help develop wise savers, consumers and investors and future leaders of our state,” Treasurer Stenberg said. The Treasurer’s online financial literacy program is offered free through Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars to every high school in the state.
Jennifer Davidson, president of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, said all the teams that participated in the regional competition should be proud of themselves for performing well under pressure.
“The competition was fierce and the task was difficult. Each team had two hours to put together a financial plan for a fictitious family. This year’s scenario was particularly complicated,” she said. “I am exceptionally proud of the team from Alliance. They earned the top spot in the preliminary online round of competition and took the state championship title. They will represent Nebraska well in Kansas City on May 6.”
A total of 239 teams participated in this year’s high school Personal Finance Challenge competition. The regional face-to-face team competitions took place after students completed individual online tests in their home schools and their scores were averaged for a team score. First-place winners were chosen at each of the three regional competition sites, and then each team’s average online test score was used to determine first-, second-, and third-place winners statewide.
NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the Bloomwell 529 Education Savings Plan, and the State Farm 529 Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. Union Bank & Trust Company serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 285,000 accounts, including over 94,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.