Knowledge and Insights

NJ High Schoolers Tout Their Financial IQ at 4th Annual Money$peak Competition

May 2018

Money $peak

Princeton, NJ – How’s your financial IQ? New Jersey high school students from 13 districts across the state will compete for major prizes for showing off theirs delivering financial lessons on May 23rd at 6:00 p.m. in the Bart Luedeke Auditorium at Rider University. The Mercadien Foundation, with support from The Mercadien Group, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, Rider University, Fulton Bank, and the Roma Bank Foundation, helps bring to New Jersey schools an innovative and exciting competition that compliments the required personal finance course.

The Money$peak program encourages students to get more engaged with their personal finance course curriculum and challenges small teams of students to create compelling presentations and compete against other school teams for prizes and regional recognition. Schools sending winning teams receive grants to support financial education.

All students currently enrolled in or who have already taken a personal finance course are eligible to join a team of up to six classmates to create a compelling, multimedia presentation on one of ten topics on personal finance. Presentations can take many forms; videos, songs, slide presentations, and even stand-up comedy routines. Teams will be judged using an inclusive rubric during the competition. After preliminary, in-school competitions, one competing team from each school will advance to the final competition on May 23rd at Rider University.

Personal financial education isn’t new, but since 2014, all high schoolers graduating from New Jersey public schools have had to fulfill a required half-year course in personal finance, as mandated by the New Jersey Department of Education.

92% of those surveyed by the Mercadien Foundation, including teachers and school administration, agreed that the 21st Century Life and Career Standards curriculum, the requirements including personal finance and entrepreneurship, are helpful for students whether they’re going on to post-secondary schooling or immediately entering the workplace. With a solid grasp on their own personal finance, high school graduates are far more likely to succeed, save, and make better decisions related to money. The Money$peak competition is focused on bringing additional emphasis to the personal finance curriculum in place and bring visibility to personal finance education within the wider community.

Christopher Seiz, Executive Director of the Mercadien Foundation, stated, “With three successful years delivering Money$peak  in Mercer County Schools, we’re very pleased to expand to create our biggest Money$peak competition yet in 2018. Curriculum standard 9.2 began to change the conversation surrounding personal finance education, and students continue to need information that relates directly to their lives in order to connect to these tools in their own language.  With the support of our sponsors, we’re pleased to lead efforts and provide solutions that improve students’ financial literacy and capability, meet the needs of educators and administrators, and benefit New Jersey students.“

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The Mercadien Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to create philanthropic and innovative programs to benefit the Mercer County community and New Jersey.

The Mercadien Group offers a full spectrum of accounting and advisory services, including traditional audit and financial reporting; federal, multi-state and international tax compliance and planning; compliance oversight, risk assessment, forensic accounting and litigation support services; management and board consulting, as well as technology and wealth management solutions.  The firm serves diverse and sophisticated clients, including privately-owned companies of nearly every type and industry, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations, government entities, and high-net-worth individuals and families, providing forward-thinking, relationship-driven financial and strategic services designed to maximize profitability and wealth, minimize taxes and risk, and enhance systems and efficiencies.

2017 Money$peak Competition winning student team, Rancocas Valley FBLA, from Rancocas Valley Regional High School, with judges. From left to right: Cynthia Newman (judge), Patricia Hartpence (judge) Grace Clothier, Kiah Champion, Harleen Gill, Ankit Patel (judge), Anthony Carabelli, Jr. (judge)