Consumer Education

May 11, 2016
Media Contact: Caley Love, Kansas Securities Commissioner - Director of Communications
Phone: 785-296-3580

State Agencies Announce 2016 Scholarship Contest Winners

2016 Financial Scholars Essay Contest Winners

Student winners traveled to Topeka to be recognized by the governor and officials for their outstanding financial literacy essays.

TOPEKA, Kan., (May 11, 2016) --- Kansas Securities Commissioner Josh Ney and Kansas State Bank Commissioner Deryl Schuster announced the winners of the 2016 Financial Scholars Essay Contest in an awards ceremony held at the Dillon House in Topeka last Tuesday. The contest was jointly sponsored by the Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner (KSC) and the Office of the State Bank Commissioner (OSBC). Five scholarships, ranging from $500 to $2500, as well as ten $100 honorable mention awards were presented to Kansas high school seniors to help cover the cost of tuition at a Kansas school of higher education.

Students were asked to submit an essay profiling an individual whose personal financial decisions impacted the lives of others and apply the wisdom or lessons from that person's life to their own future financial plans. To be eligible, students must have participated in at least one of three financial literacy programs sponsored by the state agencies: EverFi, the Stock Market Game, or LifeSmarts.

Berkley Wiegers, a senior at Wamego High School, won the top prize of $2500 for her essay. She wrote her essay about her great-great grandmother Dolly Daniell, who taught Berkley and her family many valuable lessons about entrepreneurship, smart money management, and how to make it through some of life's toughest obstacles. The following is an excerpt from her essay: "A true rag to riches story, Dolly's grit and determination passed on a legacy of fortune and values to her family, inspiring four generations and many more to come...Having been through some difficult, personal situations myself, I have her example of determination to show me that I can also overcome my own obstacles. I know I will need an education to meet my career goals and through hard work and spending my money wisely, I hope to not only secure my financial future but to create a legacy of my own to pass on to my future descendants. In addition, the lessons learned through the EverFi program will be crucial resources as I make smart financial decisions as I transition into the adult world."

Berkley plans to attend Fort Hays State University next year and major in Social Work. Other scholarship winners in attendance were: 2nd place: Cynthia Matson, Sunrise Christian Academy; 3rd place: Tiffany Willson, Conway Springs High School; 4th place: Haley Mills, Derby High School; and 5th place: Robert Rosas, Scott Community High School. Honorable mention attendees were: Zachery Brunner, Wamego High School; Maggie Miksch, Wamego High School; Chloe Rickman, Eureka High School; Tayler Strickland, Cunningham High School; and Reid Thornburg, Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. Other honorable mention students who were not able to attend were: Devin Lamkin, Hillsboro High School; Alma Martinez, Scott Community High School; Tassanee Sanchez, Hillsboro High School; Karisa Schremmer, Hoisington High School; and Sydney Wilson, Sterling High School.

Students and their families attending last Tuesday's events were treated to breakfast with the staff of the KSC and OSBC offices, met and took pictures with the governor and elected officials, and toured the capitol building and dome. During the awards luncheon, students participated in a panel discussion led by Commissioner Ney covering the topic of financial literacy.  The ceremony was closed this year by Berkley Wiegers, with a reading of her winning essay.

The commissioners for both of the sponsoring agencies were impressed with the quality of the winning essays and wished the recipients well. "Money management skills are essential for young people to enjoy success in their careers and in life. I was pleased to read how these students have prioritized financial responsibility in their own lives," said Ney. "Congratulations to our winners on a job well done."

"Each year our office sponsors various financial literacy programs, making them available to all Kansas high schools. I am encouraged by these students who use these programs, and sincerely appreciate the educators who reinforce the importance of financial literacy," said Schuster. "Congratulations to our scholarship winners, and thank you to all who participated. I wish you all the best as you begin your pursuit for higher education."

Wamego High School counselor, Jina Kugler, also attended the ceremony and was recognized for her efforts encouraging her students to participate in the sponsored financial literacy programs and for her student receiving the top award. She was given a $150 gift card as a thank you. Scott Community High School teacher Aaron Dirks also received a gift card for having the most student entrants in the contest; however, he was unable to attend the ceremony in Topeka.

Read Barkley Wiegers' winning essay: Dolly Daniell: A Story of grit, determiniation and survival"

The mission of the KSC is to protect and inform Kansas investors; to promote integrity, fairness, and full disclosure in financial services; and to foster capital formation.

The OSBC regulates all state-chartered banks, trust companies, mortgage businesses, supervised lenders, credit service organizations, and money transmitters that do business in the State of Kansas. The mission of the OSBC is to ensure the integrity of regulated providers of financial services through responsible and proactive oversight, while protecting and educating consumers.

Pictured from left to right: Robert Rosas, Cynthia Matson, Haley Mills, Tiffany Willson, State Bank Commissioner Deryl Schuster, Governor Sam Brownback, Securities Commissioner Josh Ney, Zachery Brunner, Tayler Strickland, Chloe Rickman, Maggie Miksch, and Berkley Wiegers