Money skills propel high school students to the top of the class

Barbara Trietley's students at Buffalo Public School 212 were among 1,113 high school students across Western New York who competed in MoneySKILL Mania this year. Photo: Tom Wolf.

Release Date: April 17, 2017 This content is archived.

“With the access to money young people have through credit cards and student loans, it’s critical for us to provide excellent tools, like MoneySKILL, so our youth learn the fundamentals of managing their finances. ”
Cynthia Shore, Senior Assistant Dean and Director of Alumni Engagement and External Relations
University at Buffalo School of Management

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With a nearly perfect score, a Buffalo City Honors School student has won the 10th annual MoneySKILL® Mania competition, an in-school financial literacy challenge sponsored by the University at Buffalo School of Management and M&T Bank.

Elsa DeBoy bested more than 1,110 students from across Western New York in the competition, which tests everyday money management concepts, including budgeting, income, credit and insurance. As the top-scoring student, DeBoy won an Apple iPad Air.

Jacob Tarnowski and Mekenna Leid, both from Fredonia High School, came in second and third place, respectively, and won $250 for college savings.

In addition, the winning students’ teachers — Emily Frischholz of City Honors and Laura DePue of Fredonia — each received a $100 gift certificate to the UB Center for the Arts. The top student from each individual school won a $50 Amazon gift card.

“M&T Bank is happy to support the MoneySKILL program locally so many area high school students have the opportunity to learn basic personal finance skills before they leave high school,” says Jim Jarosz, group vice president for retail banking at M&T. “This puts them in a much better position to make smart financial decisions when they move on to college or into a job, and we think all young adults can benefit from learning these basics.”

The competition tests skills that students learn through the MoneySKILL program, a free, online personal finance curriculum designed by Lewis Mandell, professor emeritus of finance in the UB School of Management, for the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) Education Foundation. Through interactive, self-directed modules, MoneySKILL teaches students about tracking and budgeting expenses, maintaining a checking account, buying a vehicle or home, credit scores and saving.

This year, teachers from public, private and charter schools, as well as career and technical centers, participated in the competition, representing six Western New York counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee and Niagara. In total, nearly 160 teachers across Western New York use the MoneySKILL program.

“Prior to joining UB, I worked in banking for more than a decade and saw how a lack of financial literacy affected my customers’ decisions,” says Cynthia Shore, senior assistant dean and director of alumni engagement and external relations at the UB School of Management. “With the access to money young people have through credit cards and student loans, it’s critical for us to provide excellent tools, like MoneySKILL, so our youth learn the fundamentals of managing their finances.”

More than 22,000 area students have participated in MoneySKILL since the UB School of Management and M&T Bank began partnering in 2006 to provide outreach, teacher training and the MoneySKILL Mania competition.

Nationally, more than 700,000 individuals have registered to use MoneySKILL to improve their ability to make sound financial decisions. The AFSA Education Foundation hopes to surpass 1 million students by the end of next year.

Based in Washington, D.C., the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) Education Foundation ( is focused on educating consumers of all ages on personal finance concepts and helping them realize the benefits of responsible money management, understand the credit process and seek help if credit problems occur. The foundation’s online personal finance course, MoneySKILL, is available at no cost and includes content in the areas of income, expenses, saving and investing, credit and insurance. The AFSA Education Foundation is affiliated with the American Financial Services Association (, the national trade association for the consumer credit industry, protecting access to credit and consumer choice.

M&T Bank Corporation is a financial holding company headquartered in Buffalo. M&T’s principal banking subsidiary, M&T Bank, operates banking offices in New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Trust-related services are provided by M&T’s Wilmington Trust-affiliated companies and by M&T Bank. 

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit

Media Contact Information

Matthew Biddle
Assistant Director of Communications
School of Management