finance

EGHS Personal Finance Team Competes in Nationals – East Greenwich News

For the fifth straight year, EGHS students won the state Personal Finance Challenge and earned an all-expense-paid trip to the national challenge, this year in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The team was among an elite group of just 21 teams across the country to compete last Friday. While they did not win their bracket, falling to a team from New York that ended up coming in first place, team members spoke highly of the experience.

“For the first time, we had a team composed of a senior, Margaret Thompson, myself, a junior, Jack Gecawich, a sophomore, and Kelsa Dator, a freshman,” said Matthew Tactacan. “The teamwork we showed and the way we bounced off of each other’s ideas throughout the entire studying, learning, practicing, and competing process was absolutely incredible.”

Margaret Thompson agreed: “We had a great composition of team members with very different skill sets competing in this challenge. I am so happy that all four grades were able to get involved as this is great exposure and an experience that none of us will forget.”

Tactacan, who competed in the national challenge last year too, was captain.

The EGHS 2019 Personal Finance Challenge national team in Nebraska, from left: Kelsa Dator, Margaret Thompson, Matthew Tactacan, and Jack Gecawich.

“I was fortunate enough to build up our team off of the knowledge gained from last year,” he said in an email. “We saw vast improvements in the way we looked through and analyzed the information-dense financials the competition provided us with, giving us the ability to recommend to real financial managers whether or not a couple should retire at the age of 58, whether or not it is beneficial for a family to refinance their mortgage, and how best the family should pay off their high-interest credit card debt … all in less than two hours.”

“The topic matter is relevant and in my opinion, should at least be introduced to all students before graduation,” said Thompson, who will be studying marketing at James Madison University come fall. “There is comfort in simply knowing what lies ahead, particularly as an incoming college freshman. This competition was challenging and touched on everything from insurance to mortgages to retirement plans and more. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in such an event and the lessons I learned will definitely be put to use in the near future.”

Both Tactacan and Thompson praised their teacher and adviser Pat Page, who has become a voice statewide for the importance of personal finance education in middle and high school.

“All of this would not have been possible if Mrs. Page wasn’t there to provide us with this opportunity and guide us,” said Tactacan.

“Mrs. Page is a dedicated teacher who truly wants her students to succeed,” said Thompson. “Mrs. Page let us work on case studies by ourselves and would suggest unique alternatives along the way. She designed our conversations to be student led so that we were getting the most out of each study session…. She sees potential in all of her students and pinpoints their strengths. Mrs. Page is more than just a teacher to all of us.”


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