When the annual Spring BB&T Financial Foundations blog contest came around, Cecilia Kellar, a Personal Finance teacher at Odessa High, enthusiastically encouraged her students to participate. Cecilia uses the BB&T Financial Foundations digital course as a supplemental tool for her in-class curriculum. “The blog contest gives students the opportunity to voice how [the program] has affected them and for them to talk about personal finance,” she said. Little did Cecilia know, one of her own students, Ismael Lujan, would place among the contest winners.
Teachers like Cecilia have leveraged the contest to give students the opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned and, in some cases, receive credit toward their final grade. The contest also comes with a monetary prize for the first, second, and third place winners.
The Spring 2017 blog contest saw over 288 student entries from high schoolers across five states. Learners of all ages submitted their posts, and a number of common themes arose. Saving for college and financing higher education – a topic that is top of mind for many high schoolers across the United States – was the most popular. Many students also wrote about debt and credit. Across the board, entries displayed a wealth of knowledge gain and expressing a desire to apply the information they learned through the course to their daily lives.
So what did the winners have to say?
FIRST PLACE WINNER
Angelina Neely, Downingtown S.T.E.M. Academy
“The BB&T Financial Foundations program has helped me plan for my future and allowed me to take the first steps in reaching my lifelong goals without several financial problems. The first step is receiving a higher education. The BB&T Financial Foundations program has started dialogue in my family about the finances available to me for school. I have been searching for scholarships as well as putting a certain amount away in my savings to hopefully decrease the amount of student loans I will need to take out. I now understand all the necessary steps and documents needed to make my financial college experience as simple as possible. Looking past college, the BB&T Financial Foundations program has also prepared me to receive my dream job.”
Caroline Clapp, Chatham Charter School
“Through the BB&T Financial Foundations Program, I have become aware of many ways to grow my money. I have wanted to see the world for as long as I can remember, but I had never taken into consideration how expensive it is to travel. I recently realized my goals were costly and I probably would not be able to afford to travel, so I was disappointed. After completing all nine modules, I now understand it is going to take more than just keeping my money in a checking account if I want to travel the world. I have since invested all my savings into a diversified investment portfolio. A portion of the money I make from investing will go towards my dream to travel. The rest will go towards other important things like college and my retirement plan. I’m only sixteen, but the BB&T Financial Foundations Program taught me that I can never start saving too early because the longer my money is invested, the more it will grow.”
Ismael Lujan, Odessa High School
“Learning with the BB&T Financial Foundations program’s concepts and lessons has made it simple for me to understand how to stay on track and reach my goals while also saving money and still having fun and being happy. The BB&T Financial Foundations program really opens your eyes to the truth and reality that is money. For instance, I never thought of money being a tool, and it is a very powerful tool which we can all use to our advantage. This program has really showed the more intellectual side of handling and saving money. I can safely say that I view the world a little more differently now, but the most important lesson it has taught me is that it is important to save and plan ahead, only use what you need.”