Post-college graduation financial responsibilities can leave many upperclassmen feeling overwhelmed, according to the latest Citi Credit-ED(R)/Synovate national survey. However, the high school juniors and seniors who won the third annual Citi/Scholastic National Essay Contest seem to have a firm foundation in financial literacy for the future. After putting their writing and money management skills into practice, today seventeen high-school students will be awarded a total of US$39,500 in college scholarships by Citi Cards for their winning essay entries describing a personal experience that positively affected their financial management skills. The Citi/Scholastic National Essay Contest is a joint effort between Citi’s Credit-ED(R) Programme and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company. Additionally, US$10,500 is awarded to the winners’ teachers.
The essay contest is part of Citi’s effort to deliver its award-winning Credit-ED Programme into high schools nationwide and raise awareness of the critical need for financial education among teens. The initiative also includes lessons on money-management and writing skills, and provides classroom materials to English teachers, guidance counsellors and business/economics teachers to help high-school students prepare for college.
“We received many personal essay entries, all of which demonstrate that high school students appreciate the importance of being fiscally responsible,” said Anthony Merola, Senior vice President, Citi Cards. “But there is a strong need to educate today’s teens about managing money before they head to college and make financial decisions on their own. Our programme with Scholastic is one way that the Credit-ED programme provides young adults with the tools they need to develop the critical skills necessary to be financially responsible throughout their lives.”
This year, high school students from across the country submitted a 500-word entry answering the following personal finance question: “Describe an event or experience that had a positive influence on the way that you approach financial management. Outline the most helpful thing you learned and describe how it led to the development of specific skills.”
The high school juniors and seniors who responded drew from a wide range of events and experiences that have positively influenced their financial behavior. Some of those include:
* Learning innovation and leadership by witnessing an aunt and uncle in
Vietnam sell coconut oil to save for their son’s college education.
* Learning money management skills by owning and operating candy machines
all over town.
* Seeing her parents struggle to makes ends meet during her childhood, a
student developed an understanding of the importance of saving money and
meeting financial priorities first.
“Along with Citi, Scholastic recognises the importance of providing students with innovative educational programmes that engage them, encourage them, and foster a lifetime of learning,” said Shelley White, Editorial director, Scholastic. “At Scholastic, we’re committed to literacy and learning, and we hope that the financial literacy curriculum we’re providing with Citi will help teens develop responsible money management skills they’ll use for life.”
Essays were judged on creativity, clear content, logical thought process and proper use of language. This year’s essay contest winners are:
Grand Prize Winners, each receiving a US$15,000 scholarship check for college tuition:
* Brittany Pinch of Lee’s Summit, MO
* Long Vinh of Yorktown, VA
Second-prize winners, each receiving a US$1,500 scholarship check:
* Rachel Burris of Gallatin, TN
* Beverly Johnson of Fayetteville, GA
* Samuel Janca of Georgetown, TX
* Amanda Hansen of Sevierville, TN
* Bennett Spenner of Kansas City, MO
Third-prize winners, each receiving a US$200 scholarship check:
* Meuy Meng Saechao of Oakland, CA
* Sterling Whipple of Delta, UT
* Emily Bloemer of Kuttawa, KY
* Michael Irvine of Houston, TX
* Staci Anderson of Parkston, SD
* Ayok Agok Monydit of North Kansas City, MO
* Grant Stanley of Omaha, NE
* Kyle Taniguchi of Aiea, HI
* Nicole Gates of Falls Church, VA
* Zekaria Saleh of Bayboro, NC
Teachers of the winners were also awarded prises totalling US$10,500 to use towards professional development and classroom materials.
The Citi/Scholastic National Essay Contest is a component of a free in-class supplemental educational programme that was distributed this Spring to over 7,000 high schools nationwide, reaching over 1.3 million college-bound students and 15,000 educators. More information as well as the Grand Prize winning essays can be found at http://www.scholastic.com/collegesuccess.
Since its inception in 2000, Citi’s Credit-ED Programme, an ongoing and comprehensive credit education initiative for students, has distributed more than 1 million credit education materials for free to students, administrators and parents.
In 2004, Citigroup and the Citigroup Foundation announced a 10-year, US$200 million global financial education commitment, the formation of an Office of Financial Education and a global initiative designed to encourage its 300,000 employees around the world to devote time supporting financial education and other charitable causes. Under the initiative, employees may take a day off from work to volunteer for non-profit organisations in their communities.
Credit-ED is part of Use Credit Wisely, Citi’s ongoing comprehensive credit education programme that provides free financial tools to help people of all ages, backgrounds and economic levels develop healthy credit habits. In addition to Credit-ED, Use Credit Wisely also includes Hablando de Credito, Citi’s credit education programme for the Hispanic community.
Citi is a member of Citigroup (NYSE: C). Citigroup, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Major brand names under Citigroup’s brand name red umbrella include Citibank, CitiFinancial, primerica, Smith Barney and Banamex. Additional information may be found at http://www.citigroup.com/.
The Citigroup Financial Education Programme is a global, company-wide effort to identify, support and carry out initiatives that help give individuals, families and communities the tools needed to make sound financial decisions. Citigroup’s 10-year, US$200 million global financial education commitment is focused in three areas: Personal Financial Education, Small Business Financial Education, and Institutional Financial Education. Additional information about Citigroup’s Financial Education Programme, including Foundation guidelines, links and resources, including the Citigroup Financial Education Programme Curriculum and Facilitator’s Guide may be found at: http://financialeducation.citigroup.com/.
Scholastic Corp (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children’s books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Co distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programmes, retail stores, schools, libraries, and television networks, and the Company’s internet Site, http://www.scholastic.com/.