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Let’s Master Money!

June 29, 2022

The Northfield High School auditorium turned into a game show set in May as four seniors competed for money, prizes, and the applause of their classmates.

Kurt Halverson, financial literacy education specialist for HomeTown Credit Union, played the role of emcee for “Let’s Master Money,” a fun competition designed to test students’ knowledge of topics like budgeting and credit. The show on May 10 was a culmination of topics Halverson had presented to seniors in two earlier College and Career Readiness sessions.

“It’s always been my dream to develop a game show about financial wellness,” Halverson said before the event. “I want students to have fun and enjoy the experience.”

Halverson organized the game show with help from Northfield Promise Alumni Coordinator Candace Godfrey. He also built a money hurricane machine for the finale, using instructions from a YouTube video and materials purchased from Menards.

The four students who volunteered to participate as contestants were Brekken Modory, Anna Nesseth, Thomas Neuger, and Emely Orrego. Student Elise Clay served as Halverson’s assistant.

Orrego said she signed up to play the game for the chance to win extra money. She wants to be a firefighter, and she plans to attend Lake Superior Community College in Duluth in the fall to study fire technology.

“I love helping people, and I love the danger – the adrenaline rush,” she said. “Also, I’m Latina. There’s a stereotype that Hispanics do the jobs people don’t want. This is helping them see that we can also follow our passions.”

The participants used smartphones and tablets to answer 10 multiple-choice questions that were displayed on a big screen, like: What’s the average yearly tuition for a public college in Minnesota? (The answer: $11,748.) The faster the students answered, the more points they earned – if their answers were correct.

The audience was divided into four sections, and students cheered for the contestant representing their section. Modory received the most points at the end, and he earned the honor of stepping inside the money hurricane and grabbing as many $20s, $10s, $5s and $1s as he could in 30 seconds. The other participants received gift cards, and audience members left with sunglasses and lanyards, and some additional financial facts.

Godfrey noted that in her conversations with recent Northfield alumni, one of the most often-cited needs has been around financial literacy. Graduates repeatedly say they wish they’d learned more about this topic while in high school. The expanded emphasis of Career & College Readiness in this area this year was a direct result of these alumni conversations.

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