NGPF Fellows: Personal Finance Student of the Year Award 2019-2020, Edition 5

Jul 15, 2020
NGPF Fellows, Financial Literacy

Each year, NGPF Fellows have the option to award a Personal Finance Student of the Year Award' to a student who has demonstrated outstanding contributions in their personal finance class during the school year. We'll showcase one student each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday right here on the blog throughout the coming summer weeks. 


Students are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Student has taken a personal finance class in the 2019-2020 school year that was taught by the NGPF Fellow who nominated them
  • Student demonstrated outstanding performance in the class based on participation/academic excellence/passion for the subject matter


Congratulations this Thursday go to:

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Student: Aracely Lizzett Berrios

Teacher: Vincent Branch

School: Washington High School, Houston (TX)

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Personal finance is defined as being the process of planning and managing money. It is any financial decision you take, whether it is budgeting, saving, retirement planning or investing. Taking a personal finance class in high school is essential and will realistically prepare you for adulthood. The course will allow you to understand the importance of being financially responsible and help differentiate between your needs from wants. Some of the subjects my professor, Mr. Branch, teaches are skills we need developed in our lives, which was a major impact on this class for me. 

After acquiring the knowledge of personal finance, I used it for my own benefit. Not long ago, I found out I was going to be a mother, so my husband and I began looking for a house. Thanks to his impeccable credit score we were able to find houses we were eligible to purchase. I used the knowledge I gained in Personal Financial Literacy class to guide my husband through the process. We make our payments on time, try to stay on budget, and avoid any unnecessary debt. While we were in the process of getting the house, I started to think that even though we are still teenagers; (18-19 years old) we are often using the topic of finance for this, and other big steps in our lives. I wondered if it would have had a different impact if I hadn’t taken this class. I’m glad that our school had this option of preparing us for our future.”

-Aracely Lizzett Berrios

About the Author

Yanely Espinal

Born and raised by Dominican, immigrant parents in Brooklyn, Yanely is a proud product of NYC public schools. She graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in 2007 before going on to receive her bachelor's degree at Brown University in 2011. As a Teach For America corps member, Yanely taught third and fourth grade in Canarsie, Brooklyn. She received her master's degree from Relay Graduate School of Education in 2013. She spends her spare time making YouTube videos about personal finance on her channel, MissBeHelpful. Yanely also loves to dance, sew, paint, listen to podcasts, and babysit her soon-to-be 7 nieces and nephews!