Dunkirk HS student wins regional financial literacy competition

A student at Dunkirk High School has came out on top of nearly 700 students across the region to win a financial literacy competition called MoneySKILL Mania, according to the University at Buffalo School of Management.

Samantha Sullivan placed first in the competition, receiving an Apple iPad. Sullivan’s teacher, Alan Buckley, received a $100 gift certificate to the UB Center for the Arts.

Now in its seventh year, MoneySKILL Mania was designed to increase awareness of MoneySKILL, a free, interactive online curriculum offered by the American Financial Services Association Education Foundation to educate students on a variety of financial issues, including income, money management, credit, investing and savings.

“We are thrilled to have reached a record number of participants this year with MoneySKILL Mania,” said Cynthia Shore, senior assistant dean and director of alumni and external relations at the UB School of Management. “Learning these everyday concepts at a young age is very important because many people, even as adults, struggle with managing their own finances.”

The results of the competition coincided with President Barack Obama’s recent designation of April as National Financial Capability Month to encourage greater financial literacy.

During the competition, students at high schools across the area were quizzed on a range of financial topics, including income, budgeting, interest, mortgages, stocks, bonds, bankruptcy and recent economic news.

“All students can benefit from learning the basics of personal finance so they’re prepared to make good financial choices in life,” said Kathy Hochul, group vice president of government relations for M&T Bank. “MoneySKILL Mania is a fun, interactive way for students to learn, so we think all these students have won by learning a little more about the basics of budgeting and handling money.”

M&T Bank and the UB School of Management have partnered since 2006 to provide outreach, teacher training and the MoneySKILL Mania competition in an effort to help Western New York high school students improve their financial literacy. Since then, more than 300 teachers from 125 schools throughout the region have registered to use the MoneySKILL program.

This year, 21 public, private and charter schools registered to compete in MoneySKILL Mania.