Lauren Shifflett, right, was congratulated by South River Elementary School Principal Ashley Houff upon finding out about her state award (authored jointly with Laura Sunder-Rao of Elkton Elementary School).

Three projects supported by Your Economic Success have swept the state awards for 2021! In competition sponsored by the Virginia Council on Economic Education, the state judging results were:

1st place: Lauren Shifflett and Laura Sunder-Rao, South River and Elkton Elementary Schools, “Building the Elkton Zoo: Establishing a Community of Learners from the Ground Up”

2nd place: Michelle Hunt and Maria Billings, Smithland Elementary School, “Selling Plants to Help the SPCA”

3rd place: Kate Hollenberg, Broadway High School, “Career and Budget Project”

State competition held by VCEE is funded by the Virginia Credit Union and the Virginia Housing Development Authority. The winners will be recognized at a December presentation in Richmond. Local awards recognition for these and other projects is set for October 11 at the regular meeting of the Harrisonburg Rotary Club.

“We have great teachers of economics in the Shenandoah Valley,” said John Kruggel, the YES-supported coordinator of local participation in the competition. Kruggel serves as associate director of the JMU Center for Economic Education, which conducts local teacher outreach as a sponsored program of YES.

Lauren Shifflett of Elkton Elementary School has won the John Morton Award for 2021 as the most outstanding elementary economic educator nationally. John Morton Awards are given annually by the Council for Economic Education in elementary, middle and high school categories.

As the winner, Lauren receives $1000 and will address her colleagues nationally on classroom technique at the “Award-Winning Teachers Share Best Practices” session of the Council’s annual convention on October 1.

The award honors consistent use of exemplary teaching techniques rather than any one project.

Members of the Harrisonburg Rotary Club will remember the day in 2019 when Lauren charmed everyone present with a description of her local grand prize-winning project, “Shifflett Superville: Soaring Together.” In that project first graders learned basic economic concepts by building a city and its market institutions with a superhero theme. Lauren addressed the club together with two of her superhero students, who were present with their masks and capes.

Lauren was nominated for the award by John Kruggel, who coordinates teacher outreach and training locally for Your Economic Success (YES).

YES promotes economic and financial literacy in the Shenandoah Valley.

YES’s teacher outreach is a sponsored program of the James Madison University Center for Economic Education, where Kruggel serves as Associate Director for Program.

2019 award winner

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.