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Student wins grand prize in essay contest


Janet Musangali, a seventh-grader at Frontier Middle in O’Fallon, recently won the grand prize and received a $2,000 scholarship for her entry into the Money Smart Kid Essay Contest. 

The Greater St. Louis Financial Education Collaborative, in partnership with United Way of Greater St. Louis, awarded scholarships to three St. Louis-area students through the essay contest. Students in sixth through eighth grade from schools around the region were asked to demonstrate their knowledge of money management and develop and apply their own money management ideas through an essay.

Each entrant was charged with writing about the following topic:

What are the potential devastating effects of a natural disaster [fire, flood, hurricane, etc.] on a family’s financial situation, including tips and resources to help prepare for potential future unexpected crises?

In her essay, Janet wrote, “Because most natural disasters are unpredictable, they can have a significant effect on family finances. Families who recover quickly usually have taken preventative measures to make sure they are financially protected in hard times.”

She also encouraged individuals to insure their property and life, as well as budget for unexpected expenses in a natural disaster, such as medical bills.

“I’d like to congratulate Janet and the other finalists,” said Jonathan Caldwell, Northwest St. Louis Agency Manager at COUNTRY Financial. “Janet provided great tips for how to prepare for the unexpected. We’re impressed with the entries we received and the great insight on how a natural disaster such as a wildfire or hurricane can affect a person’s finances.”

COUNTRY Financial sponsors the essay contest’s first-place prize as part of Money Smart Week, a national public awareness campaign to help individuals and families better manage their personal finances.

“The Money Smart Kid Essay Contest is a way to engage local children and youth in financial education and to demonstrate the importance of good money management skills,” said Debbie Irwin, community economic development director, United Way of Greater St. Louis. “Thank you to our sponsors and to all of the students and schools that participated.”

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