Money skills propel high school students to the top of the class

BUFFALO — With a nearly perfect score, Buffalo City Honors School student Elsas DeBoy has won the 10th annual MoneySKILL® Mania competition, an in-school financial literacy challenge sponsored by the University at Buffalo School of Management and M&T Bank. As the top-scoring student, DeBoy won an Apple iPad Air.

Jacob Tarnowski and Mekenna Leid, both from Fredonia High School, came in second and third place, respectively, and won $250 for college savings.

In addition, the winning students’ teachers — Emily Frischholz of City Honors and Laura DePue of Fredonia — each received a $100 gift certificate to the UB Center for the Arts. The top student from each individual school won a $50 Amazon gift card.

“M&T Bank is happy to support the MoneySKILL program locally so many area high school students have the opportunity to learn basic personal finance skills before they leave high school,” says Jim Jarosz, group vice president for retail banking at M&T. “This puts them in a much better position to make smart financial decisions when they move on to college or into a job, and we think all young adults can benefit from learning these basics.”

The competition tests skills that students learn through the MoneySKILL program, a free, online personal finance curriculum designed by Lewis Mandell, professor emeritus of finance in the UB School of Management, for the American Financial Services Association Education Foundation. Through interactive, self-directed modules, MoneySKILL teaches students about tracking and budgeting expenses, maintaining a checking account, buying a vehicle or home, credit scores and saving.

This year, teachers from public, private and charter schools, as well as career and technical centers, participated in the competition, representing six Western New York counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee and Niagara. In total, nearly 160 teachers across Western New York use the MoneySKILL program.