Aug 02, 2021
NGPF Fellows

NGPF Fellows: Personal Finance Student of the Year Award 2020-2021, Part 4

There are dozens of NGPF Fellows who are all phenomenal educators that attended a training institute with the NGPF team and help us work towards Mission: 2030 all across the country. They're awarded an "NPGF Personal Finance Student of the Year" award annually for one of their students.

The winning students are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Taken a personal finance class in the 2020-2021 school year that was taught by the NGPF Fellow who nominated them
  • Demonstrated outstanding performance or improvement in the class based on participation/academic excellence/passion for the subject matter

This week we're showcasing another group of winners and we'll share the final winners in Part 4 of this blog series next week to wrap up publicizing the complete list of winners. 


Congratulations this week go out to:


Student: Kyle Battani

Teacher: Kayla Bousum

School: Johnston High School, Johnston IA

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“As a senior in Financial Literacy, I figured I could go through the motions and get an easy. A in the class without soaking up much information. However, I’ve taken more away from the class than I ever could have imagined. Before Financial Literacy, I was horrible at eating out all the time and spending money when I didn’t need to. After almost a semester of the class, I’ve started keeping track of my spending with an app that allows me to log my spending. With this app, I am able to feel the pain of spending the money rather than just swiping a debit card without any repercussions. Before this semester, I would deposit my paycheck into my savings account and transfer money into my checking account as needed. Now, after learning about Pay Yourself First, I make sure to set money aside for expenses like my phone bill and gas as well as for things I may be saving up for. I put a smaller amount of money into my checking to be spent on entertainment and make sure not to go over that amount between each paycheck. I have built habits that I will carry into the rest of my life. Financial Literacy has taught me many valuable lessons that will help me be financially successful later on in life."

-Kyle Battani



Student: Connor Woods

Teacher: Maureen Neuner 

School: Pinelands Regional Junior High School, Little Egg Harbor, NJ

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“I believe that a personal finance class is extremely important in helping to build a strong foundation for my future. This type of class will give students extremely valuable information about things like budgeting, insurance, and how to manage other things in adulthood like credit cards, investments, and planning for the future. I think it's very important to leave high school with a sense of responsibility and independence knowing that you have some tools to succeed. This class will also teach you about the importance of networking and making connections in the workforce which will help you make the best decisions when it comes to securing or changing jobs and/or careers."

-Connor Woods



Student: Utah Bean

Teacher: Brett Shifrin

School: Gould Academy, Bethel, ME

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“While many of the classes I've taken in high school have been enjoyable, from time to time I doubt whether learning subjects like the Pythagorean Theorem are really going to benefit me 10 years from now. For the first time ever in Mr. Shifrin's Financial Matters class that wasn’t the case. Every day I’d walk into class, take a seat on the heavenly yoga ball chair, and find myself engrossed in learning real financial tools that could benefit me for the rest of my life. Whether it be filling out a FAFSA form or creating cash flow statements, Mr. Shifrin would always encourage us to persevere through the maze of numbers in order to save as much time and money as possible. Never before have I gained so much freedom and independence from one class. This has motivated me to invest in a Custodial Roth IRA so I can set out on a path towards a better financial future. So, thank you Mr. Shifrin!"

-Utah Bean



Student: Kendra Johnson

Teacher: Lana Main

School:  West Central High School, Sioux Falls, SD

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“Recently I was asked what my most useful class of high school was. Without hesitation, I answered, "Personal Finance!" This class is valuable because it teaches young adults how to handle money responsibly before entering the real world. Students learn how to file a tax return, create a diversified stock portfolio, read bank statements, manage their credit and the list goes on and on. Every high school student should be required to take this course because it is important information that gets used in every day life. No matter what career you enter, you'll have to deal with your finances. It also teaches students how to reverse bad financial habits! I have successfully applied my personal finance knowledge into my every day life by placing my college savings into a CD, I budget my paychecks, and discuss different financial plans with the adults in my life. I even created a social media story to educate my peers on the easy money choices I make just to save money. After completing this class, I served as a teachers aide in a personal finance class so I could continue to educate other teens on this topic. Overall, I'm grateful to have taken and helped with this course before attending college in the fall."

-Kendra Johnson



Student: Kinsie Hufford

Teacher: Sara Shackett

School: Lakewood High School, Lakewood, CO

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“Life is unpredictable! In a split second, your car could be totaled or your arm could break. When life shows its ugly head, people who know about personal finance will be prepared. A class on personal finance teaches us to have an emergency fund for when life doesn’t go as planned. No one realizes it at the time, but a class all about how to be an adult is the most important class you could take. No matter how good at math or reading a person is, if they do not know how to do their finances they will not get anywhere. Personal finance class teaches us how to be an adult when it matters the most - when we are about to move on in the world by ourselves. Prior to taking Economics, I did not know how the stock market worked, I did not know how to open a bank account or get a credit card, and I didn’t know that there were different types of health insurance. How was I supposed to go out into the world not knowing how to live in it? Now, I can say with confidence that I’ll be able to utilize my money strategically when I’m ready. I moved the money from the savings account my parents got me at a brick and mortar credit union to an online savings account with higher interest because I never go to the bank anyway. Now my money is making more money! Economics taught me that online banks offer higher rates than walk-in banks do. Finally, I feel confident that I’ll be able to handle the financial challenges that life throws at me from here on out."

-Kinsie Hufford



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!

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