Middle school tops competition



April 29, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Iola Middle School students Bryce Misenhelter, Abigail Taylor, Clara Wicoff, Taylor Heslop and Zach St. Clair brought home a first place win from the April 21 Personal Finance Challenge at Wichita State University.
To attend the competition each team member had 35 minutes to complete a 30-question online test in late March. Nine middle school teams participated.
At WSU, Iola won the first three rounds of the written competition and then competed head-to-head with the second place team, Trailridge Middle School of Shawnee Mission, in a final quiz bowl match. Iola dominated with a score of 15 to five.
Along with winning the match, Misenhelter was the highest scoring individual.
During the challenge students were asked questions about the difference between compound and simple interest, types of loans, how to diversify a portfolio, the safest types of investments, annual percentage rates and the difference between fixed rates and variable interest rates.
The challenge helped the students learn it never is too early to become financially informed and to know the value of saving.
“I tell my students to start saving for college or to open a retirement account. I know they probably say, ‘retirement account,’ but time passes quickly and in the future they will be glad they began saving at an early age,” said Jean Johns, IMS teacher and team coach.
“Through the challenge I learned not to buy things on credit if I can’t afford to pay them off in the short term,” Taylor said.
“Abigail is right about buying on credit because interest will eat you alive,” said Wicoff.
The competition, which is sponsored by the Kansas Council on Economic Education, encourages the integration of economics and personal finance into school curriculums.
Kansas State Treasurer Dennis McKinney attended the competition to encourage the students to become financially educated at a young age, and in doing so, help make Kansas more fiscally sound in the future.
The students received prizes and cash awards at the challenge and on Wednesday were treated to a ride in a Hummer and a pizza lunch.
“I am so pleased with the students interest in finance as they look to their future and proud of their win in Wichita,” said Johns.
The students plan to participate in the challenge again next year. Roger Carlin, IMS social studies teacher, helped provide the students with study materials in preparation for the contest.

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