N.J. high-schoolers compete in Money$peak finance competition

The fourth annual Money$peak competition — a personal finance competition for high school students to create educational presentations on personal finance topics — took place recently at Rider University’s Bart Luedeke Center.

The competition was presented by the Mercadien Foundation and Rider University, and supported by NJM Insurance Group, Fulton Bank and the Investors Foundation.

Participating student teams included Bordentown Regional, Colts Neck, Hopewell Valley, Jackson Liberty, Lawrence, Montgomery, New Egypt, Rancocas Valley Regional, Seneca, Steinert and West Windsor-Plainsboro North high schools.

Ten teams qualified for regionals out of about 80 teams, representing more than 400 students.

Each team had to create a three-to-five-minute presentation on a specific topic from the required high school personal finance course and present it to a panel of judges from the financial industry.

“With Money$peak, we’re helping to build a proactive generation of young adults who take charge of their financial future and excel in their chosen fields,” said Christopher Seiz, executive director of the Mercadien Foundation.

Judges assessed each team on content, clarity, creativity and performance.

Here were the Top 3 teams:

  1. MK Productions, which presented on credit cards and debt, from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North. The team was awarded $1,500 and a $1,000 school grant for personal finance education.
  2. Team Scotties, which presented on career and earnings, from Bordentown Regional High School. The team was awarded $1,000 and a $750 school grant for personal finance education.
  3. RV FBLA, which presented on career and earning, from Rancocas Valley Regional High School. The team was awarded $500 and a $500 school grant for personal finance education.

“The classroom has always provided valuable learning experiences for students. The Money$peak competition takes this learning to another level by affording students the opportunity to combine lessons learned in the classroom with themes that prepare them for life,” said Albert Paulsson, a teacher at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North. “The students in my economics course truly enjoyed the Money$peak program and developed many creative and informative presentations.”

“The Mercadien Foundation and the amazing sponsors have created an impressive event with the Money$peak program that allows students to apply the knowledge they’ve acquired throughout the year,” Suzanne Brown, a teacher at Hopewell Valley Central High School, said. “It’s special because it requires them to engage at a higher level to create powerful messages about personal finance issues to present to others. Money$peak is the perfect opportunity to encourage students to come out of their comfort zones and to master life skills such as time management, completing research, knowing your target audience, being confident and concise, and honing critical presentation skills. Money$peak is a win-win for everyone involved.”

Within the next few weeks, student presentations will be available on the Money$peak website.