Naperville students win top awards

Naperville Winners

Naperville students win top awards in regional and state Economics Concepts Poster Contest

Young artists don’t have to starve anymore, at least not if they learn the fundamentals of finance in school. This spring, 23 students from Naperville School Districts 203 and 204 were recognized for their winning entries in the 2012-2013 Economics Concepts Poster Contest.

The students, their teachers, and their families celebrated their accomplishments at a reception hosted by Northern Illinois University Center for Economic Education at NIU’s Naperville Center.  

For the poster contest, students created artistic and colorful drawings to represent one of six basic economic concepts (scarcity, opportunity cost, goods and services, specialization, producers and consumers, or productive resources). This year, students participating in NIU’s regional competition submitted over 600 entries that were judged by an interdisciplinary team from the university and the region. The judges selected winning posters based on accuracy of concept representation and originality. 

At the regional competition, 23 Naperville students in 1st through 8th grade took home honors for their interpretation and visual explanation of an economic concept. Three of those students went on to win awards at the state level, and nine received state honorable mentions. Very special congratulations went to state winners: Alana Depaz, Rose Jacob’s 5th grade student at Brooks Elementary; Chandra Gangavarapu, Kerry DiFusco’s 4th grade student at White Eagle Elementary; and Jake Klimek, Jennifer Campen’s 5th grade student at Graham Elementary.

State Honorable Mention awards went to Rohit Panse, 5th grade, and Audrey Su, 5th grade, both Angela Born’s students at Patterson Elementary; Shivansh Gupta, 5th grade, and Elliott Sieger, 5th grade, both Helene Caliva’s students at Clow Elementary; Adrien Mehra, 4th grade, and Dhivya Chari, 3rd grade, both Kerry DiFusco’s students at White Eagle Elementary; Erin Hennessy, 5th grade and Rebekah Mathew, 2nd grade, both Sharon Phares’ students at Fry Elementary; and Julie Park, 8th grade, Kristin Richardson’s student at Madison Junior High School.

Dr. Mary Beth Henning and Dr. Stephen Karlson, co-directors of the Northern Illinois Center for Economic Education were thrilled by the number of students who participated. "It is a pleasure to honor so many winners from District 204; they have a long tradition of excelling in this competition”, said Henning. “It is a joy to see so many students and teachers engaged in the pursuit of economic literacy – what an inspiring group.” NIU delivered two Financial Fitness for Life workshops to District 204, K-5 teachers last fall through a grant from the Council of Economic Education and a Virtual Economics Library courtesy of State Farm®.

”These 23 students represent 10 teachers who are committed to teaching their students economic and financial fitness skills that they will be able to demonstrate in real life situations,” said Judith Dymond, Coordinator of the Center for Economic Education at NIU. “Research indicates that teaching finance to students yields money management skills that carry well into adulthood.  Financial management is a critical life skill that students need, so they are prepared for the future.”

The Economics Concepts Poster Contest is a yearly event sponsored by Econ Illinois and the NIU Center for Economic Education. These organizations help K-12 schools integrate the teaching of economics and personal finance across the curriculum at all grade levels, preparing students to meet Common Core Standards and providing them with the fundamental economic concepts and skills needed to be effective participants in our economy.