By Stephanie Choate
A group of Williston Central School fourth graders has financial and investment advice that many adults could stand to hear.
“Buy needs before wants,” said Evan Forrest.
“You should spend it on a house,” said Emily Glickman.
“Get a savings account at your local bank,” said Shane Skiff.
The three Williston students, all 10, were recently honored for their artwork and financial savvy in the Be Moneywi$e Financial Literacy Poster Competition, an annual contest sponsored by the State Treasurer’s Office and the Vermont Bankers Association.
Students in grades three through 12 are asked to create a poster that illustrates the year’s theme. This year, students were asked to complete the phrase, “I can grow my money by…”
Emily Glickman took home the top honors in the elementary school division, winning $100 cash, and $100 for her school. Evan Forrest took home third place and Shane Skiff received an honorable mention.
“In the past they’ve done well, but this year they really did good,” said art teacher M.C. Baker. Baker said this year’s group of students spent a multitude of recess and after school hours working on their posters. “They really put their all into it,” she said.
Emily said she was surprised to hear she had won—and didn’t initially hear the announcement, since her classmates were cheering so loudly.
“Everyone in my class was cheering, and I was shy for a second,” she said. “Everyone’s artwork is great…. I’m kind of thrilled that I won.”
Perhaps predictably, Emily is doing something fiscally responsible with her winnings.
“I’m putting it in a savings account for college,” she said.
Emily, Shane and Evan, along with their families and Baker, are headed to Montpelier April 11 to receive their prizes.
Nearly 400 students submitted posters—246 of them in the elementary school division. Winners are chosen based on expression of the theme, artwork style and content, and creativity.
“The posters from Williston just have a great balance of not only artwork, but also a real understanding of the money concepts we were asking kids to illustrate,” said Lisa Helme, director of financial literacy and communications for the state’s treasury department. “Those students did a great job.”
Helme said the treasury department looks at the contest as a learning opportunity first and art contest second.
“A lot of times money is a taboo subject,” Helme said. “Anything we can do to help facilitate conversations about money we feel is a step in the right direction.”
Baker said it’s clear parents have been reaching out to their kids about smart money techniques, and the contest helps encourage those conversations.
“It gives us a chance to touch on good saving techniques and what is an investment,” Baker said. “It’s a wonderful vehicle, through the art class, to say, ‘hey, what would you do with your money? You’re going to be working really hard for it, how will it work for you?”
Baker said her students took the question seriously, asking each other at recess what they’d do with their money. The answer leaned decidedly away from candy and toward college funds, Baker said.
Emily, Evan and Shane said they each receive an allowance—and most of it goes right into their savings accounts.
“It’s good to save it,” Shane said. “Don’t just throw money around too much.”
Helme said children are never to young to begin learning about finances.
“Our financial world is just getting more and more complex,” she said. “The more we can help our children feel at ease about the subject of money and begin to feel like they can manage money, we feel that just puts them on firmer ground as they enter adulthood.”
NEFCU to host financial literacy seminar
New England Federal Credit Union is set to host “Economy of Me,” a financial literacy seminar for students in grades 9-12. The seminar, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at NEFCU’s Williston branch.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn about finances and how to manage money, because I think it’s important, especially as they move along in their life, to learn about finances at an early age,” said Cindy Morgan, NEFCU senior marketing executive.
Speaker, author, and standup comic Colin Ryan will present the seminar. Morgan said he will cover the importance of good credit, how to save and building a financial foundation.
Morgan said financial management education is often lacking for young people.
“We’ve been doing sessions for young adults for many years and we find that they’re not getting that kind of education in other places,” she said.