Financial literacy contest

Lamoille Union Middle School students — Toni Howard, Amelia Magnan, Chloe Guyette, Sophie Hunsberger, Elli Bickford, Emily Bandy and Winter Deslaurier — won a financial literacy contest by making a video demonstrating the importance of saving.

Lamoille Union Middle School math teacher Danielle Peveril squeezed in a financial literacy class as the school year wound down.

And, that’s paying extra dividends.

A group of her students won first place in the Vermont Jump$tart Coalition’s “Save for a Rainy Day” video contest after demonstrating their financial literacy by producing a video where students demonstrated the value of every penny saved along with their ability to apply mathematics in an essential, real-world situation.

The $500 prize will be split among seven students — Toni Howard, Amelia Magnan, Chloe Guyette, Sophie Hunsberger, Elli Bickford, Emily Bandy and Winter Deslaurier.

“Both seventh and eighth graders had just finished their financial literacy units, and I thought this would be a great end-of-unit activity. We were just amazed, we won first prize. It was fantastic,” Paveril said.

Peveril promoted financial literacy among her students with engaging and interactive activities, with the seventh graders learning how to calculate all of the costs and taxes involved in running a food truck, while eighth graders played a modified game of life that demanded budgeting and loan calculations.

After a student’s parent brought the financial literacy contest to her attention, Peveril, who also co-directs the middle school play, helped some of her more theatrically inclined students write a script that showed the value of saving and how a single penny can make a difference when it comes to being fiscally prudent.

“I put together a very short script with very basic directions and sent it to them. They filmed the whole thing themselves. They were just amazing. After the year they’ve had, they are so mature, and they adapt really well. They filmed themselves. I cut it and edited it together just like I would with a middle school play,” Peveril said.

Peveril, in just her second year as a math teacher at Lamoille Union Middle School, plans to continue to encourage her students to submit to the contest and hopes high school students will as well.

“They’ve learned so much this year about time management and keeping deadlines, which is vital when you don’t see them in person,” she said. “There’s been a lot of growth this year.”

The National Jump$tart Coalition is a national nonprofit that encourages financial education and helps support and promote programs throughout the country that empower educators in this mission. Vermont doesn’t require financial literacy be taught in middle school.

“Parents have always said, ‘I wish you would teach my kids about taxes. I wish you would teach my kids about money.’ So it’s something that I try to do every year, because I think it is so important for kids to just understand that value and to be able to budget and to be able to read the IRS website,” Peveril said. “These are things that adults have trouble doing, so if we start early, when they’re 13 or 14, not only will they be able to be more independent, but then they can help others.”

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