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Monday, May 17, 2010

Congratulations to WA Fin Ed teams: Heritage SIFE takes regionals & wins 4th at nationals; Auburn H.S. DECA takes FIRST at International competition!

While national scores on financial literacy tests continue to drop, Washington students are showing they do have the financial smarts to make it big.

After taking top honors at this year’s Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) regional competition in San Francisco, the Heritage University team from Toppenish went toe to toe against teams from all over the country this week at the SIFE National Competition in Minneapolis. Though many of their competitors came from much larger institutions than the small Yakima Valley university – the Heritage team embodied the SIFE motto of “A Head For Business. A Heart For The World.” and took top honors with a fourth place finish.

Earlier in the month, Auburn High School’s DECA Chapter -- represented by “Road To Riches” financial education project Co-Chairs Haylee Rice and Alyssa Opland – took their knowledge and expertise one step further – to international competition. The Auburn teens accepted the first place award for their project at the DECA International Career Development Conference in Louisville, Ky.

Following the group’s mission of sharing their knowledge of business and finance with other students, the Auburn DECA students made financial education a priority this year. In addition to the 30-page plan and 15-minute presentation, judges considered the team’s overall project components:

  • Student to student teaching of financial education curriculum in Auburn K-12.
  • Training of Washington DECA members attending the Fall DECA conference how to implement the Seattle-based financial education company Moonjar Classroom Kits in their districts.
  • Workshop/panel presentation at the Washington Asset Building Coalition annual conference on how communities can work with students to improve and increase financial education in their communities.
  • The team hopes their project, which incorporates personal finance in existing curriculum, will serve as a model for integrating financial education into K-12 curricula statewide – and eventually nationwide.

The Heritage SIFE team took honors not only for how well they presented, but also on how well they met SIFE’s seven mandatory components:
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Ethics
  • Team Sustainability
  • Success Skills
Three particular areas of the team’s focus have had significant impact on their community:
  • Market Economics: The Heritage students worked with apple orchardists to reactivate a dormant cooperative, provided 10-week training on business plans, and organizational, financial, and conflict management skills. Because of the team’s work, the co-op received $500,000 in USDA low interest operating loans, and one of eight national “Disadvantaged Rural Enterprise” grants of $175,000 for market research, brand development, training, and co-op development purposes.
  • Entrepreneurship: As a result of the Heritage “Mini Trump” program more than 1,200 students in the fourth and fifth grades in seven school districts learned how to create capital, use it effectively, and develop the skills necessary to manage resources and entities they create or become involved with. They also learned money is not the end objective but a tool to accomplish their goals and reach their objectives in life. These youth achieved an average 82% return on investment. Additionally, one of the schools where Mini-Trumps was executed donated their profits to Pennies for Patients, an organization to support children diagnosed with Leukemia. Mini-Trumps will be implemented in two high schools to help their student-clubs develop a sustainable fundraising program.
  • Financial Literacy: Over the last seven years, nearly 4,000 youth in Yakima valley have been taught the basics of financial stability by implementing saving, sharing, spending, and keeping a budget. This year, 187 high school and college students learned how manage loans, credit cards, and uses excel to create and manage their own monthly budget. Because of Heritage SIFE’s efforts, more than 100,000 community members were provided information about changes to Washington’s Payday Loan legislation and how to break the cycle of financial mismanagement, achieve financial independence, and be savvy consumers.
After regionals, the Heritage team also was a finalist for the Financial Literacy Topic Competition 2010 and Market Economics Topic Competition 2010.

Heritage SIFE 2010 team members include:

Andrew Calderon, Junior, Computer Science and Business Administration, IT Support Team

Jorge Borunda, Senior, Computer Science, IT Support Team

Rosa Gutierrez, Junior, Business Administration, Project Coordinator

Yesica Garcia, Senior, Business Administration, Project Leader

Tony Torres, Sophomore, Business Administration, Public Relations

Lucia Solis, Senior, Business Administration, Recruitment & Retention Officer

Sherezade Guerrero, Senior, Marketing, SIFE Presenter

Mireya Vasquez, Junior, Business Administration, SIFE Presenter

Haydee Navarro, Freshman, Marketing, SIFE Presenter

Katy Padilla, Sophomore, Business Administration, SIFE Presenter

Javier Estrada, Sophomore, Business Administration, SIFE Presenter

Julius Hill, Sophomore, Business Administration, SIFE Presenter

Juan Aguilar, Sophomore, Business Administration, SIFE Presenter

Bernave Avila, Senior, Mathematics, Team Support

Francisco Ramirez, Freshman, Nursing, Team Support

Erik Perez, Sophomore, Business Administration, Team Support

Guadalupe Jimenez, Sophomore, Business Administration, Team Support

Rondha Flett, Junior, Business Administration, Team Support

Olga Gonzales, Junior, Accounting, Team Support

Guadalupe Garibay, Sophomore, Mathematics & Secondary Education, Team Support

Gustavo Serrano, Sophomore, Business Administration, Team Support

Jamaal Pimms, Freshman, Business Administration, Team Support

Magali Ambriz, Junior, Accounting, Treasurer

CONGRATULATIONS Heritage SIFE and Auburn High School DECA teams! Your efforts make Washington a better place to live!