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Sandra Garcia Lopez
Money Smart Kid Essay Contest winner Sandra Garcia Lopez
posted in: Community
by Steve Fast

Money Smart Kids tackle financial topics and win scholarship dollars

Here is a simple lesson of investment and return: fostering money smarts with young people can pay off for them in the long term.

Students in six cities demonstrated their financial thoughtfulness and it paid off: in the form of scholarship dollars.

The Money Smart Kid and Money Smart Teen essay contests are held in various locations every April to coincide with Financial Literacy Month.

This year’s Money Smart essay contest topic asked students to ponder the connection between financial health and physical health. Students also suggested what policymakers could do to help promote financially healthier citizens. The winning responses demonstrate how young people can get a grasp on big financial topics.

St. Paul, MN high school senior Elias Freberg wrote his thoughts on the contest topic:

“Having a good understanding of financial health means being able to manage money without negative repercussions such as overdraws, poor credit score, or even debt,” Eli wrote. “If an individual has a savings account and deposits regularly they are more likely to be prepared for future incidents such as a trip to the hospital or a recession. Therefore they will be less stressed and happier, which has a positive impact on the body and physical health.”

Students were awarded with scholarship checks from COUNTRY Financial during the Money Smart Week activities.

Money Smart Kid and Teen Essay Contest Winners

Not even kids as bright as the essay contest winners are born money smart. Like many skills, financial literacy has to be learned. Asking simple questions about spending, saving, investing and donating money — even at the youngest ages — can put a child’s brain in gear when it comes to thinking about financial concerns.

Building up awareness on money topics might not translate into a scholarship check for everyone, but it can help kids be more mindful about how they use money as they grow.

Money Smart Teens:

Jared Bailey, senior, Fulton Leadership Academy, Atlanta, GA
Elias Freberg, senior, Como Park Senior High School, St. Paul, MN
Fumika Mizuno, senior, Tualatin High School, Portland, OR
Jarvis Lam, senior, Shorewood High School, Milwaukee, WI

Money Smart Kids:

Gabrielle Cisneros, eighth grader, Kinzie Elementary, Chicago, IL
Sandra Garcia Lopez, eighth grader, Triad Middle School, St. Jacob, IL (St. Louis area)

Money Smart Teen Runners-up:

Jallure Harrell, junior, Mount Paran Christian School, Atlanta, GA
Essence Wiley, freshman, Dunwoody High School, Atlanta, GA
Shukri Isse, junior, Metro Schools College Prep, Minneapolis, MN
John Ario, senior, Washburn High School, Minneapolis, MN
Kendall Tsuei, senior, St. Stephen’s Academy, Portland, OR
Allie Slingsby, senior, Central Catholic High School, Portland, OR
Zoey Nahmmacher-Baum, sophomore, Shorewood High School, Milwaukee, WI
Grace Munson, junior, Shorewood High School, Milwaukee, WI

Money Smart Kid Runners-up:

David Luna-Pascua, sixth grader, Ogden International Middle School, Chicago, IL
Jada Watson, seventh grader, Parker Junior High, Flossmoor, IL


COUNTRY Financial presents the Money Smart Teen and Kid Essay Contests annually during Money Smart Week, a national public awareness campaign coordinated with area partners such as the Federal Reserve of Chicago, to help individuals and families better manage their personal finances.*

See a gallery of essay winners on our Facebook page.

For additional information about Money Smart Week, visit          

*COUNTRY Financial® is not affiliated with and does not endorse or recommend the services of any third party.


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