Students bank on money skills in financial literacy competition

Release Date: April 23, 2014 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Students from Dunkirk, West Seneca West and John F. Kennedy high schools beat out nearly 700 registered competitors to finish in the top three for MoneySKILL Mania®, an in-school financial literacy competition sponsored by the University at Buffalo School of Management and M&T Bank.

The results coincided with President Barack Obama’s recent designation of April as National Financial Capability Month to encourage greater financial literacy.

Samantha Sullivan from Dunkirk High School won an Apple iPad as the top scoring student from all schools.

Aaron Davis from West Seneca West and Ryan Galazka from JFK both nabbed a $250 prize for taking second and third place, respectively.

The highest scoring student from each of the other participating schools won a $50 Amazon gift card.

Now in its seventh year, MoneySKILL Mania was designed to increase awareness of MoneySKILL, a free, interactive online curriculum offered by the American Financial Services Association Education Foundation to educate students on a variety of financial issues, including income, money management, credit, investing and savings.

“We are thrilled to have reached a record number of participants this year with MoneySKILL Mania,” says Cynthia Shore, senior assistant dean and director of alumni and external relations at the UB School of Management. “Learning these everyday concepts at a young age is very important because many people, even as adults, struggle with managing their own finances.”

During the competition, students at high schools across the area were quizzed on a range of financial topics, including income, budgeting, interest, mortgages, stocks, bonds, bankruptcy and recent economic news.

Teachers for the top three students each received a $100 gift certificate for the UB Center for the Arts. The winning educators were Alan Buckley from Dunkirk High School, Colleen Christman from West Seneca West and Tony Krupski from JFK.

“All students can benefit from learning the basics of personal finance so they’re prepared to make good financial choices in life,” says Kathy Hochul, group vice president of government relations for M&T Bank. “MoneySKILL Mania is a fun, interactive way for students to learn, so we think all these students have won by learning a little more about the basics of budgeting and handling money.”

In financial literacy studies, teenagers consistently demonstrate a poor understanding of personal finances, according to the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. In the organization’s latest survey, for example, high school seniors only answered 48.3 percent of the questions correctly.

For this reason, M&T Bank and the UB School of Management have partnered since 2006 to provide outreach, teacher training and the MoneySKILL Mania competition in an effort to help Western New York high school students improve their financial literacy. Since then, more than 300 teachers from 125 schools throughout the region have registered to use the MoneySKILL program.

This year, 21 public, private and charter schools registered to compete in MoneySKILL Mania: Alden High School, Bennett High School, Bolivar-Richburg Junior-Senior High School, Cattaraugus-Little Valley High School, Clarence High School, Cleveland Hill High School, Dunkirk High School,  Erie 1 BOCES Harkness Career and Technical Center, Erie 1 BOCES Kenton Career and Technical Center, Fredonia High School, Frederick Law Olmsted School, Frewsburg Junior-Senior High School, Global Concepts Charter School, Hamburg High School, Iroquois High School, John F. Kennedy High School, Orchard Park High School, Pembroke High School, Scio Central School, West Seneca East Senior High School and West Seneca West Senior High School.

Founded in 1856, M&T Bank Corp. is one of the 20 largest U.S. commercial bank holding companies, with more than 700 branch offices and 1,500 ATMs in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. More information is available at

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, the Financial Times, 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

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB’s more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact Information

Matthew Biddle
Assistant Director of Communications
School of Management