Montezuma team finishes first in Southeast District of the Iowa Personal Finance Challenge, advancing to state on April 12
The Montezuma team of, from left, Maguire DeJong, Colton Benson, Kennen Roadcap and Jack Erselius recently competed in the Southeast District of the Iowa Personal Finance Challenge, placing first overall and advancing to the in-person live state finals in Des Moines on April 12. The four students completed individual 30-question online exams covering principles of personal finance including money management, credit, investing, and insurance. The top two teams from each of Iowa’s four districts compete at state. The winning team will advance to the National Finals in Cleveland, Ohio.
Each year, the Iowa Jump$tart Coalition, with support from the National Council for Economic Education, hosts the Iowa Personal Finance Challenge. The challenge is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge of personal finance by connecting with other students from across the state in an online competition. At the initial level, teams of four students complete individual 30-question online exams covering principles of personal finance including money management, credit, investing, and insurance. The top two teams from each of the four regions of the state advance to the live state finals competition in Des Moines on April 12. State finalists are assigned a fictional case-study with time to prepare a presentation sharing their recommendations for the fictional client before a panel of judges including economists, business leaders and financial professionals.
The Montezuma team of Colton Benson, Maguire DeJong, Jack Erselius, and Kennen Roadcap placed first overall in the Southeast Iowa district for the fall semifinals, earning a cash prize and a trip to state. There were 745 students from across Iowa who participated in the challenge.
The winning team in the state finals will advance to the National Finals in Cleveland, Ohio, competing for a substantial cash prize. Last year, the team of Allyson Larmore, Kennen Roadcap, Haley Van Der Hart, and Gabe Wearmouth made the finals as a four-person Personal Finance 2 class and just missed going home with a cash prize. This is the second year a Montezuma team has competed in the competition and business teacher Kevin Gartman said he and the students are excited to have continued success in the finals.
Personal Finance has been a required class for graduation at Montezuma for four years, and two years ago, Gartman created a Personal Finance 2 class to allow for a deeper dive into these real-life topics. Personal Finance is also taught as an 8th grade semester-long elective class to give students some base knowledge prior to their junior and senior years of high school.
“I'm really proud of how Montezuma Schools has made personal finance education a priority for students,” noted Gartman. “Not only do they have the opportunity to have three classes focused solely on personal finance prior to graduation, but they have the chance to take their knowledge and apply it through competition teams like these young men have. From the school board and administration, to the students and their parents, everyone seems to really grasp how important learning about topics such as investing, taxes, budgeting, banking, insurance, and credit is. We've been ahead of the curve, both statewide and nationally, with the steps we're taking to prepare students for life after Montezuma High School. For that, I'm proud.”
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