Michaela Minore and Cesar Gonzalez have won the top prize statewide in economic education competition for a project developed at Skyline Middle School.

In “Career and Personal Finance (Online Learning Modules),” students explored potential future paths, the education and skills needed for each path and the financial rewards.

The prize carries a $1,000 cash award and will be formally presented by the competition’s sponsor, the Virginia Council on Economic Education.

“This project did a great job of helping students see alternative futures,” said Dr. William C. Wood, director of the JMU Center for Economic Education, which conducts teacher training in economics and personal finance locally.

Minore and Gonzalez collaborated to produce and deliver both English and Spanish language versions of the project.

Second prize statewide was also won by a local entry, an in-school project by the third grade team at Bluestone Elementary School in Harrisonburg.

In “Third Grade Scarf Factory,” students worked to make and sell scarves for a good cause in a two-week cross-curricular service learning project.

The third grade team members were Eileen Hernon, Kimberly Boronat-Garcia, Peyton Erb, Sarah Rodgers, Laurissa Kennedy, Ashley Switzer and Erica Park.

Local winners were recognized at a meeting of the Rotary Club on October 5.

“These prizes are a tribute to the quality and hard work of our local teachers,” said John Kruggel, associate director for program of the JMU center. “We have about 1.4 percent of Virginia’s teachers in our service area, but they swept the top two places in state competition.”

An earlier round of local competition was sponsored by the Harrisonburg Rotary Club, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce and Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc.

In local competition across all grade levels, the grand prize went to Louise Pierson of Elkton Middle School for “The City of Ember: Where Do They Go from Here?” In Pierson’s project, students created strategies for a fictional future society’s resource choices while studying Jeanne Duprau’s dystopian future novel The City of Ember.

The reserve grand prize locally went to Bluestone’s third grade scarf factory.

Locally, first prize for grades K-2 was won by Kendyl Connifey and Mariela Formiconi of Bluestone Elementary School for “Needs and Wants and Helping Others.” In their project, kindergarten students used a hot chocolate stand to learn about needs, wants and economic decision making.

Second prize locally for grades K-2 was won by Michelle Hunt of Smithland Elementary School. Hunt’s “Bread and Butter for a Cause” applied students’ economic learning to help the animals at the SPCA.

First prize for grades 3-5 locally was won by Tammy May of Lacey Spring Elementary School for “Principal’s Kindness Ambassadors Working to Make a Difference: Earning, Saving, and Serving.” In May’s project, a healthy snack cart helped elementary students learn about kindness as they worked to purchase gifts for the children at St. Jude’s Hospital.

Second prize for grades 3-5 was won by Tyler Orebaugh of Plains Elementary School for his “Virtual Career Day for Students of Rockingham County Schools.

Third prize for grades 3-5 went to Carrie Guiterrez of Spotswood Elementary School for “Camp Wonder,” a 10-week club in which students created an economy of their own, learning important lessons about markets and trade.

In the middle school division, there were two local winners:

  • Callie Randolph of Skyline Middle School won first prize for “Get a Rolling Start to Your Food Truck!” For Randolph’s project, students focused their management, literacy and life skills on a food truck business.
  • Leah Barker of Thomas Harrison Middle School won second prize for “Entrepreneurs Business Plan ,” a project teaching the importance of entrepreneurship to the economy while helping students explore business plans.

In the high school division, there were three local winners:

  • A school-wide team at Turner Ashby High School won first place with “Cashing in on Each Other with TempTAtions Coffee.” In this project, coffee lovers and students of different abilities across Turner Ashby High school benefited from activities centered on a weekly a la carte café.
  • Julie Cassetta of Spotswood High School won second place with “SHS 9th Grade Day on the Job,” a job shadowing activity that gave ninth-graders a close-up look at the world of work.
  • Ryne Powell of Spotswood High School won third place for “Centered L,” a sign-making activity that anchored explorations into business, entrepreneurship and economic decision-making.
2019 award winners

From left, winners honored at the 2019 presentation were Ann Minnick, Dawn Flora, Bethany Everidge, Logan Stana, Callie Randolph, Andrea Nolley, Brendon Derstine, Katerini Carpenter, Janelle Hurst de Mazariegos, Lauren Shifflett and Autumn Pequignot.

An Elkton Elementary School teacher’s superhero-themed economics project took top honors at the annual economic education awards presentation for 2019. Winning teacher Lauren Shifflett received the $1000 grand prize in competition sponsored by SVEE in partnership with the Harrisonburg Rotary Club and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce. In “Shifflett Superville: Soaring Together,” first graders learned basic economic concepts by building a city and its market institutions with a superhero theme.

The reserve grand prize went to Dawn Flora and Ann Minnick of Ottobine Elementary School. For their project, “You ‘Otter Pic’ These Entrepreneurs,” students teamed up across grade levels to produce personalized photos and frames with a school theme.

Other prizes awarded were:

  • First place in the elementary grades, Janelle Hurst de Mazariegos
    of Smithland Elementary School for “Integrated Economics Mini-Unit,” in which kids learned about spending and saving from in-class activities and community presenters.
  • Second place in the elementary grades, Autumn Pequignot and Tammy May of Lacey Spring Elementary School for
    “Functional Economics,” which spanned the grade levels with varied projects to bring community and school together in a celebration of graduation.
  • First place in the secondary grades that include middle and high school, Callie Randolph of Skyline Middle School, for “Clothing Upcycled!” in which students made new articles of clothing from used materials while building independent living skills.
  • Second place in the secondary grades, Katerini Carpenter of
    Thomas Harrison Middle School for “World Traveling Economist,”
    in which students learned about forms of economic organization around the world.
  • Third place in the secondary grades, Brendon Derstine
    of Thomas Harrison Middle School, for the outdoor “Business Survival Game,” through which students learned about business cycles and business organization.

Also recognized separately were:

  • Logan Stana of Plains Elementary School, statewide winner in mini-grant competition
  • Bethany Everidge of Harrisonburg High School, nominee for Virginia Outstanding Economic Educator 2019
  • Andrea Nolley of Smithland Elementary School, nominee for Virginia Outstanding Economic Educator 2019

At the end of the local presentation, state-level awards were announced. SVEE-area teachers did quite well, as Lauren Shifflett took first place statewide and Dawn Flora and Ann Minnick took second place statewide in lesson plan and project competition. Andrea Nolley was named Virginia Outstanding Economic Educator 2019. This strong state showing is a tribute to local teachers and what they accomplish with SVEE support.

2018 award winners

From left, Caitlin Mueller, Tara Counts, Tammy May, Tara Hardy, Linda King, Stephanie Driver, Cynthia Lam, Lisa Long, Bethany Everidge, Callie Randolph, Lacey Clarke and Holly Bazzle were recognized as 2018 winners.

On Oct. 8, teachers from the Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County Public Schools received awards for their innovative projects in economic education. The awards were sponsored by the Harrisonburg Rotary Club and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc. The awards include cash prizes ranging up to $1,000 for the grand prize.

2018 award winners

From left, top local winners Caitlin Mueller, Tara Counts, Tammy May, Tara Hardy, Lisa Long and Bethany Everidge.

dianna alger

Dianna Alger

Awards were presented at the regular Monday meeting of the Rotary Club. Dianna Alger of Page County High School was also honored separately as the Virginia Council on Economic Education’s nominee for Economic Educator of the Year representing the Shenandoah Valley region.

The teachers honored also included these grade-level winners:

  • Virginia Munns of Smithland Elementary School, for her project, “2nd Graders + Big Hearts = Kindness,” which won first place in the primary (K-2) division.
  • Linda King, Holly Bazzle, Lacey Clark and Stephanie Driver of John C. Myers Elementary, for their project, “Class Dojo Economics,” which won second place in the primary (K-2) division.
  • Tara Hardy and Tammy May of John C. Myers Elementary, for their project, “Kids Market,” which won first place in the elementary (grades 3-5) division.
  • Nora S. Fletcher of J. Frank Hillyard Middle School, for her project, “An Autism Awareness Campaign Filled with Scents/Cents,” which won first place in the Middle School division.
  • Callie Randolph of Skyline Middle School, for her project, “Life in the Real World,” which won second place in the Middle School division.
  • Cynthia Lam of Elkton Middle School, for her project, “Lifestyle Budget,” which won third place in the Middle School division.
  • Bethany Everidge of Harrisonburg High School, for her project, “What are Common Words Anyways? Supporting Students through Tier-Two Vocabulary and Financial Literacy,” which won first place in the High School division.

Overall winners in the competition were:

  • Tara Counts and Caitlin Mueller of J. Frank Hillyard Middle School, for their project, “Restaurant Possible,” which won the grand prize in the overall competition.
  • Lisa Long and Walt Williamson of Harrisonburg High School, for their project, “The Blue Streak Stitching Company,” which won the reserve grand prize in the overall competition.

SVEE is a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote economic literacy in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

2017 award winners

From left, Beth Yelverton, Allen J. Ruliffson, Emily Hartman, Holly Kincaid, Callie Randolph, Nora S. Fletcher, Virginia Munns, Lisa Long, Russell Kohrs and Walt Williamson were recognized as 2017 winners.

On Oct. 2, teachers from the Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County Public Schools were received awards for their innovative approaches to economic education. The awards were sponsored by the Harrisonburg Rotary Club and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc. The awards include cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000.

Awards were presented at the regular Monday meeting of the Rotary Club. Beth Yelverton of Ottobine Elementary School was honored for her work with the economic literacy reading program, “Reading Makes Cent$,” sponsored by Virginia 529.

The teachers honored also included these grade-level winners:

  • Virginia Munns of Smithland Elementary School, for her project, “Volunteering Acts of Kindness,” which won first place in the primary (K-2) division.
  • Emily Hartman of South River Elementary School, for “The South River Breakfast Cart,” which won first place in the elementary (grades 3-5) division.
  • Allen J. Ruliffson of J. Frank Hillyard Middle School, for his project, “Learn it. Sell it. Love it. On eBay.,” which won second place in the middle school division.
  • Callie Randolph and Holly Kincaid of Skyline Middle School, for their project, “Monster Factory,” which won first place in the middle school division.
  • Russell Kohrs of Massanutten Regional Governor’s School for Environmental Science and Technology, for “Over the Cliff or Sustaining the System: An Exploration of EROI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested),” which won first place in the high school division.

The overall winners were

  • Nora S. Fletcher of J. Frank Hillyard Middle School, for her project, “Poverty in America: Addressing Disparities through Action,” which won the reserve grand prize in the overall competition division.
  • Lisa Long and Walt Williamson of Harrisonburg High School, for their project, “Joe to Go!,” which won the grand prize in the overall competition. Judges were impressed with the project’s integration of economics and life skills for the special education students who participated.

SVEE is a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote economic literacy in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

2016 award winners

From left, Russell Kohrs, Beth Yelverton, Allen Ruliffson, Callie Randolph, Emily Hartman, Marta Frederick, Lisa Long and Virginia Munns were recognized as winners in the 2016 awards competition.

Educators from the Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County Public Schools were honored for their innovative and effective ways of bringing economics lessons to the classroom. The Economic Education Awards, presented on Oct. 17, were sponsored by the Harrisonburg Rotary Club and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc. The awards include cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000.

“Economics is important–and everybody understands that in a presidential election year,” said JMU economics professor William Wood, director of the university’s Center for Economic Education. “Economic education may even be more important than economics at a time such as this. Think about how different our campaign might be if large numbers of voters truly understood economics and did not fall for easy slogans.”

Russell Kohrs of the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School for Environmental Science and Technology was the grand prize winner. His project, “Exploring Energy: An Economic and Environmental Exploration of Solar Energy,” taught students important lessons on environmental principles and economic concepts.

The reserve grand prize went to Lisa Long and Walt Williamson of Harrisonburg High School for creating “The Blue Streak Food Company,” a meal delivery business for teachers that involved students at every stage–from recipe selection to delivery.

Virginia Munns of Smithland Elementary School was the first-place winner in the elementary division. Her project, “Auction Antics,” involved kindergarten students exchanging pennies for items ranging from pets to privileges to teach lessons about cost and choice.

Two projects were recognized in the middle school division. Allen J. Ruliffson of J. Frank Hillyard Middle School won first place honors for “Diamonds are Forever.” The project engaged all of Hillyard’s seventh graders in studies of the international market for diamonds. The second place prize was won by Callie Randolph and Marta Frederick of Skyline Middle School for “Homemade Vs. Store-Bought Crepes.” The three-day lesson used an extended cost comparison to teach students about marketing, decision-making and cooking.

All of the projects were entered in a statewide competition, which awards three prizes for the K-12 level. Randolph and Frederick’s project received the second place award in that competition, while Long and Williamson received third place for their project. These awards will be presented on Dec. 9 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

In addition to the local awards, regional and state-level honors were presented at the event:

  • Beth Yelverton, librarian at Ottobine Elementary School, was the Shenandoah Regional Winner for the “Reading Makes Cent$” program, sponsored by the Virginia 529 college savings plan. Under Yelverton’s direction, Ottobine students read the most economics-relevant books in the Shenandoah region.
  • Hillyard’s Ruliffson, who was honored in the local competition, was named Virginia Social Studies Teacher of the Year. He also will be recognized at the annual meeting of the National Council for the Social Studies.
  • Sondra Colvin and Emily Hartman of South River Elementary School were winners in a statewide mini-grant competition sponsored by the Virginia Council on Economic Education. They used their mini-grant to start a “Coffee Cart” business at the school, involving their 4thand 5th grade students. The business was so successful that it expanded to become the “The South River Breakfast Cart,” complete with hand-made uniforms for the student employees who served teachers throughout the school.

The JMU Center for Economic Education is an affiliate of the Virginia Council on Economic Education. Its teacher outreach is a sponsored program of Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that seeks to promote economic literacy and understanding of the free enterprise system in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.