Charles Schwab Foundation Announces Winners of Fall 2008 National Financial Literacy Challenge Scholarship Awards

22 High School Students Achieve Perfect Test Scores

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 6:00 am PST



Public Company Information:


SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Twenty-two high school students have learned that knowledge literally pays. Charles Schwab Foundation is awarding $1,000 scholarships to each of the 22 students who obtained scores of 100 percent on the fall 2008 National Financial Literacy Challenge.

Between November 3 and December 12, 2008, more than 75,000 high school students across the U.S. took the voluntary online exam, an increase of 63 percent over the first Challenge administered in May 2008. The 35-question online test of personal finance knowledge and understanding was administered by the Department of the U.S. Treasury. Of the 75,000 students who took the exam, the average score was 52 percent, demonstrating that much more work is needed to prepare youth for their financial futures.

In addition to providing scholarships to the 22 students who earned perfect scores (20 boys and 2 girls), the Foundation also is awarding $1,000 to each school or organization that contributed to the financial education of the winners.

“Over time, financial literacy is its own reward,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation. “But for teens who tend to take more of a short-term view, our hope is that these 22 scholarship winners will become compelling examples to their peers that financial knowledge pays off.”

Interestingly, three perfect scorers hail from a single school, Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Fla., and from the classroom of a single teacher. St. George’s School in Spokane, Wash. had two perfect scorers from the classroom of one teacher, as did Brookfield Central High School in Brookfield, Wis. Homeschoolers accounted for three perfect scores, two from a single family.

Buchholz High School also boasted the Challenge’s youngest perfect scorer, a 13-year-old seventh-grader enrolled in advanced placement classes. Buchholz’s Academy of Finance Director Michele Brothers had signed up 48 of her students to take the Challenge, and 46 scored in the top 25th percentile; 11 of those, including the three perfect scorers, were in the top one percent.

A long-time math teacher, Brothers has been teaching personal finance to students for the past two years. “When I taught math, I’d often hear students ask ‘When are we ever going to use that?’” she said. “Students in my Personal Financial Planning class never ask me about the relevance of what they’re learning; they know they’ll be applying these concepts every day of their lives.”

“As educators, we’re always talking about the importance of teaching subjects across the curriculum,” she added. “The current state of the economy clearly points out that we need to be talking about more than mathematics and English composition; we need to be teaching finance and personal responsibility across the curriculum, too.”

Approximately 18,000 students who scored in the top 25th percentile of the Challenge received certificates of recognition from the Department of the U.S. Treasury, and 362 students who scored at least 94 percent earned a National Financial Literacy Award medal for demonstrating exceptional levels of financial literacy.

An opportunity for students to take civic action

High school students who watched the historic presidential inauguration are aware of President Obama’s desire to usher in a new era of personal responsibility.

In his inaugural address, the president said, “Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age…. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world….” *

The National Financial Literacy Challenge continues to offer an opportunity to raise awareness of the need for financial education and to enable inspired teachers and students to take action. By equipping themselves as individual consumers, students can get involved and play a role in helping themselves, their peers and their families take greater responsibility for sound financial decision-making.

A closer look at the perfect scores

The 22 perfect-scoring students hailed from just 9 states. States with multiple winners included:

  • Wisconsin – five (two from the same school)
  • Washington – three (two from the same school)
  • Florida – three (all from the same school)
  • North Carolina – three
  • Pennsylvania – three
  • Connecticut – two

Individual perfect scorers included:

Perfect Scorer     Grade     High School     City, State     Teacher
Collin M. Berger     11th grade     Ridgefield High School     Ridgefield, CT     Catherine McDonald
Huanzheng Chen     11th grade     Buchholz High School     Gainesville, FL     Michele Brothers
Masen C. Christensen     11th grade     Bingham High School     South Jordan, UT     Janet Woodward
Colleen Culbertson     12th grade     St. George’s School     Spokane, WA     Josh Hayes
Bryan Dongre     11th grade     Brookfield Central High School     Brookfield, WI     Elyce Moschella
Eric S. Gentry     11th grade     Hatboro-Horsham Senior High School     Horsham, PA     Carol Miller
Curran J. Hill     9th grade     Homeschooled     Apex, NC     Denise Hill
Elissa Hill     11th grade     Homeschooled     Apex, NC     Denise Hill
Andrew A. Hitti     12th grade     Wheatley High School     Old Westbury, NY     Randy Stander
Kevin Z. Huang     7th grade     Buchholz High School     Gainesville, FL     Michele Brothers
Jacob Jaeger     11th grade     Denmark High School     Denmark, WI     Sean Kelly
Michael R. Montanye     11th grade     Mukwonago High School     Mukwonago, WI     Emily Iverson
Jordan Parker     12th grade     Providence High School     Charlotte, NC     Julie Cooney
Ibrahim T. Peker     11th grade     St. George’s School     Spokane, WA     Josh Hayes
Christopher Reed     12th grade     Houston High School     Germantown, TN     C. Steven Bell
Joseph D. Rivera     12th grade     Granby Memorial High School     Granby, CT     Susan Clark
Paul M. Sangrey     11th grade     Homeschooled     Landisburg, PA     Linda Sangrey
Benjamin D. Seese     12th grade     Brookfield Central High School     Brookfield, WI     Elyce Moschella
Alexander H. Shapiro     11th grade     Buchholz High School     Gainesville, FL     Michele Brothers
Dylan A. Tegen     12th grade     Phillips High School     Phillips, WI     Jean Flower
Nathan D. Tijio     12th grade     Henry M. Jackson High School     Mill Creek, WA     Rose Smith
Tommy Witmer     12th grade     Warrior Run High School     Turbotville, PA     Jennifer Vest

About the National Financial Literacy Challenge

The voluntary test is an initiative recommended by the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy and administered by the Department of the U.S. Treasury. The Challenge was developed by the Office of Financial Education, Department of the U.S. Treasury, in consultation with four prominent academicians, the National Endowment for Financial Education, Junior Achievement USA, the National Council on Economic Education and the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.

Additional information is available at

About Charles Schwab

The Charles Schwab Corporation (Nasdaq:SCHW) is a leading provider of financial services, with more than 300 offices and 7.4 million client brokerage accounts, 1.5 million corporate retirement plan participants, 468,000 banking accounts, and $1.1 trillion in client assets. Through its operating subsidiaries, the company provides a full range of securities brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC,, and affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through its Advisor Services division. The Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC) provides banking and mortgage services and products. More information is available at

About Charles Schwab Foundation

Charles Schwab Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization funded by the Charles Schwab Corporation. Its mission is to create positive change through financial education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. More information is available at (0309-7375)

Photo caption

Gainesville, Florida, teacher Michele Brothers and her three winning students from Buchholz High School: From left to right, Kevin Z. Huang, Alexander H. Shapiro and Huanzheng (Bob) Chen.


Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:


Charles Schwab
Sarah Bulgatz, 415-636-5940
Marcy J. Walsh, 310-659-5380

Multimedia Files:

Preview image
Gainesville, Florida, teacher Michele Brothers and her three winning students from Buchholz High School: From left to right, Kevin Z. Huang, Alexander H. Shapiro and Huanzheng (Bob) Chen. (Photo: Business Wire)

Corporate Public Relations
Contacts for Journalists Only




Business Wire NewsHQ℠