Naperville 5th grader wins financial essay contest

By Becky Yerak
Posted April 8 at 3:02 p.m.

A cautionary tale with a twist ending helped Naperville fifth-grader Charles Tiseo win the 2011 Money Smart Kid award during the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s financial literacy week.

The White Eagle Elementary School student, 11, beat out 116 other entrants with his “Curious Case of Benjamin Budget” story about an poor old man who ignored the lessons of his youth.

Money Smart Kid is an essay contest open to fifth- to eighth graders living in the Chicago area. Students had to answer this question in 300 words or less: “You’ve been asked to give your class a short lesson on the importance of financial literacy. What would you say and why?”

HSBC North America, which has sponsored the award for five years, gives a $5,000 scholarship to the winner, who, along with five other finalists, also get laptops.

Other finalists were:

Ashraya Sreedhar, 12, of Still Middle School in Aurora: “It’s our responsibility to take care of our aging parents and grandparents who showed us the light into this world. Building this safety net for the rainy day helps take care of the increasing medical expenses and to support the rising cost of education for our children. So let’s all ‘Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached,’ as said by Swami Vivekananda.”

Branson Rideaux, 13, of Freedom Middle School in Berwyn: “Most kids go to convenience stores almost every day after school. Kids spend $1 to $6 on soda and chips, which can really add up. If they just walked past the stores a couple days a week, they’ll have a lot more money at the end of the week.”

Rounding out the list of finalists were Giuliana Conte, 12, of St. Juliana School in Chicago, Alison DeBruyn, 13, of Summit Hill Junior High School in Frankfort; and Kevin Eberhardt, 12, of Francis Campanelli Elementary in Schaumburg.

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