Eighth grader wins statewide poster contest (4/16/09)

Hoyt advocates saving money and wise spending

April 16, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Since Williston resident Brittany Hoyt was 5, she and her father collected loose change and saved the coins in a little jar. They’ve both continued the practice to save for college, because, as Hoyt said while quoting an age-old aphorism, “money doesn’t grow on trees.

 


    Courtesy photo
Williston eighth grade student Brittany Hoyt stands with her winning poster last Thursday during a ceremony in Montpelier that honored the winners of a statewide financial literacy art contest.

Williston eighth grade student Brittany Hoyt stands with her winning poster last Thursday during a ceremony in Montpelier that honored the winners of a statewide financial literacy art contest.

Williston eighth grade student Brittany Hoyt stands with her winning poster last Thursday during a ceremony in Montpelier that honored the winners of a statewide financial literacy art contest.

“I don’t spend a lot and I try to save as much as I can,” said the Williston Central School eighth grader.

That sentiment recently became the theme of Hoyt’s winning entry in a statewide financial literacy poster contest. Sponsored by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the contest asked elementary, middle and high school students to use art as a way to highlight the importance of saving for the future. Students were asked to use art in finishing the sentence, “I’m going to be a millionaire because …”

Hoyt’s hand-drawn and colored winning entry for the middle school division features an owl sitting in a tree quoting the oft-used phrase. Green leaves hang from branches, with the words “invest,” “I save money” and “make good choices.”

“In the cartoons, it’s the wise old owl that everybody goes to for advice,” Hoyt said in explaining her design.

According to Lisa Helme, director of financial literacy and communications for the state’s treasury department, Hoyt’s poster won because of the mix of message and creativity. The same was true for the elementary and high school winners from Reading and South Ryegate, Helme said.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling organizes state poster contests where the winners are entered in a national competition. Along with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the State Treasurer’s office, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of New Hampshire and Vermont and the Vermont Bankers Association sponsored the state contest.

Winners were chosen last week for the national competition and a student from Oklahoma took home the first place prize for the middle school division.

“Brittany did a great job,” Helme said. “We were proud to send her entry along to the nationals.”

Williston also had students Antony Wathugi and Rachel Healey chosen as runners-up in the contest’s middle school division.

Hoyt never believed she’d win the Vermont contest when she created the poster in art teacher M.C. Baker’s classroom. She said she was “shocked” when she found out.

“I guess they liked my message,” Hoyt said.

Along with her parents and grandmother, Hoyt traveled to Montpelier last Thursday to be honored by Gov. Jim Douglas and State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding. Baker, Wathugi, District Principal Walter Nardelli and Hoyt’s Meeting House teacher Mindy Conry attended as well.

As part of her prize, Hoyt received a $100 savings bond. The school received a $100 cash award, which Baker said she would put toward the purchase of a new digital camera for her art room.

Hoyt said music and art have always been a passion and she’s looking forward to continuing her art when she attends Champlain Valley Union High School in the fall.

And she plans to practice what she preached in her winning poster.

“Right now, I’m really just trying to save for college,” Hoyt said.