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Two students from the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board have won cash prizes in a Canadian Foundation for Economic Education contest sponsored by Scotiabank.

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Ava Robertson and Laila Blezak are students at Blessed Carlo Acutis Continuing Education School. Both are residents of Listowel and both are in grade 7.

Robertson took home $2,000, while Blezak took home $1,000.

They are among the top 12 students in Canada who participated in the contest.

To enter the Virtual Money Fair contest, students had to submit a three-minute video to include a topic of their choice. They shared the key things they learned about money, as well as how they would apply what they learned to achieve a healthy financial future.

Blessed Carlo Acutis’ teacher, Mrs. Brennan-Yeo, facilitated this learning opportunity for the students.

Brennan-Yeo said she believes the two winning videos were selected because they included detailed research, a solid financial plan, community interviews, clear and articulate speech, and well-written narration.

“Furthermore, the use of financial flowcharts which demonstrated understanding and choice of topics of personal interest resulted in enthusiastic and factual presentations,” she said,

“Adding a variety of stock footage and personally shot videos alongside an audio track completed the final product.”

The Virtual Money Fair video project was an integrated study, where financial literacy expectations and language, media arts were used.

Students from Mr. Leckie’s 4th/5th/6th grade class and Ms. Brickman and Ms. Brennan-Yeo’s 6th/7th/8th grade class participated in the project.

Students chose a research topic on money and then created a video to share their learning.

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The content and creative elements of the video project were produced under the talent of Ms. Brennan-Yeo.

Understanding money and how to manage personal finances is integral to building a well-rounded student who understands the math involved in earning, budgeting and saving, Brennan-Yeo said.

“Like any other skill, the sooner they start practicing it, the better they will master it,” she added.

“Hopefully an early education in ‘money matters’ will help students avoid pitfalls like debt and bankruptcy by empowering them to save and invest early.

The students’ subjects were all very different and extremely creative. Only students who wished to participate in the Virtual Money Fair contest.

There were entries from both BCA classes in the competition.

Robertson’s video submission explored the cost of owning a dog and caring for it for a year. The video explored this question using research and personal images, as well as videos and music, to answer it.

Robertson said she felt thrilled to hear she was in the top 12, let alone winning the contest overall.

“Financial literacy is important because it prepares children for their future, so when they grow up they know more about finances,” Robertson said,

Blezak’s video submission explored how a new business can turn a profit. His video was about Blezak’s business “Vanilla Bean’s Cakes” and each of the steps needed to make a cake. It highlights the time and cost involved in making this product and also explored how to determine what to charge a customer.

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“I really didn’t expect to win. I thought it was pretty cool to be in the top 12 in all of Canada,” Blezak said.

“When I found out that I had won second place and my friend who lives a block away had won first, it was absolutely amazing.”

Additionally, throughout the pandemic, Blezak has helped bring joy to the community through her baking skills, which included donating a broken glass cake to a local business through her participation in the “war of canadian signs”.

“We would like to thank Scotiabank and the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education for creating this,” concluded Brennan-Yeo.

“This contest is an incredible way to inspire educators and students to embrace financial literacy learning while meeting the expectations of Ontario’s math and language programs.

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