Consumer Education

State Agencies Announce 2017 Scholarship Contest Winners

2017 Financial Scholars Essay Contest Winnters

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

TOPEKA, Kan., (May 3, 2017) --- Kansas State Bank Commissioner Miki Bowman and Kansas Securities Commissioner Josh Ney announced the winners of the 2017 Financial Scholars Essay Contest in an awards ceremony held at the Dillon House in Topeka last Friday. The contest was jointly sponsored by the Office of the State Bank Commissioner (OSBC) and the Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner (KSC). Five scholarships, ranging from $500 to $2500, as well as three $250 honorable mention prizes were awarded to Kansas high school seniors to help cover the cost of tuition at a Kansas school of higher education.

A record 140 essays from across the state were submitted to and judged by an independent panel of judges. To be eligible, students must have participated in at least one of four financial literacy programs sponsored by the state agencies: EverFi, Stock Market Game, Personal Finance Challenge, or LifeSmarts.

Students were asked to submit a two-part essay. In the first section, they chose one of the following financial challenges: a real-life event that happened to them or someone they know that impacted their views of handling money, a financial issue they believe public policy makers should give more attention to, or what they would like their lives to look like ten years down the road and the decisions they would have to make about finances and money management. The students then provided a 3-6 page analysis applying the lessons they incorporated in the first section toward financial decisions they are currently making regarding their higher education, including discussion of the positive and negative aspects of student loans, comparing the various types of higher education, and researching the earning potential of their chosen field of study and the job availability and demand of potential careers.

Nathan Buss, a senior at Jefferson West High School, won the top prize of $2500 for his essay. He wrote about lessons from his family’s farm that originated when his family settled on a 160-acre tract of land back in the 1870s. Through smart money management and a mindset to spend only what they were able to, his grandfather was able to keep the farm running through some very difficult times. The following is an excerpt from his essay: “We are still the sole owners of the land and have been for over 100 years…As I work with my family to maintain our herd of cattle, I am careful about the ways in which my money is spent. Being a small operation, we continue to use the same 1963 Massey-Ferguson tractor that my grandfather drove when he plowed the fields…I will always utilize the teachings of those that came before me in order to ensure my financial success.”

Nathan plans to attend Kansas State University next year and major in Biological Systems Engineering. At the Dillon House, Nathan was also recognized by local legislator Representative Ron Ellis.

Other scholarship winners in attendance were: 2nd place: Kylee Trout, Scott Community High School; 3rd place: Kyle Unruh, Hillsboro High School; and 5th place: Sydney Hoover, De Soto High School. Honorable mention attendees were: Makenzie Fankhauser, Shawnee Mission East High School and Kim Nguyen, Seaman High School. Students who were not able to attend were: 4th place: Brooke Bulloch, Maize South High School and honorable mention: Seth Tunnell, Wellington High School.

Students and their families attending last Friday’s events were treated to a special luncheon at the historic Dillon House in Topeka. An awards ceremony followed the meal, which included remarks from both commissioners and a scholarship recipients panel discussion covering the topic of financial literacy. Nathan Buss read his winning essay to close the ceremony. The students and their families then took photos in the governor’s ceremonial office and had the option to tour the statehouse and dome.

“The programs we sponsor are designed to help prepare students for life beyond high school,” said Bowman. “These essays illustrate the impact our programs have made on Kansas students across the state. It is clear these students are aware of the importance of making sound financial decisions from the start. Congratulations and best wishes as you begin your life journey.”

“These essays take a great deal of time and thought to complete, and I commend the students who participated and wish them all the best of luck in this next stage of life,” said Ney.

Robin Buss is a teacher at Jefferson West and mother to Nathan Buss. She had encouraged Nathan to complete the EverFi program and enter the scholarship contest. Mrs. Buss received a gift card at the ceremony for facilitating the student receiving the top award. Scott Community High School teacher Aaron Dirks received a gift card for having the most student entrants in the contest for the second year in a row. He was unable to attend the ceremony in Topeka.

Read Nathan Buss' winning essay: Keeping the Family Farm

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.


Previous Scholarship Winners

Click here to view past winners and read the winning essays!