This morning, at the U.S. Department of Education headquarters in Washington, DC, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin joined members of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability to recognize some of the highest-scoring students who participated in this year’s National Financial Capability Challenge.
The Challenge, which includes a voluntary online exam for high school students, helps teach young Americans about important skills critical to a securing a strong financial future, including saving, budgeting, and investing. During the 2010-2011 school year, more than 84,000 high school students and 2,500 educators in all 50 states, as well as in U.S. Department of Defense schools for children of military members around the world, participated in the Challenge.
A few of the top-scoring students honored at today’s ceremony at the Department of Education wrote to us about their experience taking the Challenge:
Megan Reichart from Meadowbrook High School in Virginia:
“The National Financial Capability Challenge serves as an excellent tool for the government to gauge the capacity of its youth’s financial literacy, and for individual students to compare themselves to a national standard of competency expectations. For our generation, understanding financial matters will be crucial to our future success. But this challenge is only the first step. The government’s emphasis on financial and basic economic education is crucial because finances will be a part of every student’s future regardless of his or her field of study. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be exposed to a financial education through my marketing class at school. However, not all schools offer such opportunities. Through the National Financial Capability Challenge, the importance of financial competency will receive greater recognition.”
Anna Martin from Ephrata Area School District in Pennsylvania:
“The Financial Challenge was a great way to test how much students know about real-life financial situations. It also allows teachers to see how prepared students will be for the real world once they graduate high school, since finance is a major part of life. The students will have to deal with financial situations similar to those on the test and need to know how to handle them. Plus, these financial skills will benefit students their entire life and will be constantly used, since finance doesn’t go away with age.”
Carlos Riveros-Sabogal from Applications and Research Laboratory in Maryland:
“I believe the Financial Capability Challenge is important because it allows students to demonstrate their ability to handle money wisely. In today’s economy, it is vital for young people to learn how to handle their finances properly to avoid financial struggle. This is why I am very thankful for having received the financial education I gained from my Finance instructor.”
Nicole Falcone from Delaware Military Academy in Delaware:
“I think the Challenge is important because it showed me that I knew more about personal finance and business than I thought I did. I am also very appreciative of my teacher for teaching me about the Challenge because this is such a wonderful opportunity. I’ve never been to Washington, DC and I am also very grateful to possibly earn scholarship money. I would recommend the Challenge to other students because it only takes a short amount of time, but could result in so many amazing opportunities.”
Sean Maloney from Gonzaga College High School in Washington DC:
“The Financial Capability Challenge was a very interesting experience for me. I learned a lot through the classes we took after school. I think that this class has given me and many of my classmates a head start in the world. I would like to thanks Ms. Tobin and all our guest speakers – Mr. Nico Medina and Mr. Ted Daniels, among others – for taking the time to work with us. I would also like to thank Mrs. Una Daniels-Edwards for coordinating our guest speakers. I am looking forward to participating in the Challenge again next year. It was a very positive experience and was also fun.”