2017 Award Winners

Illinois State Championship


West Chicago Community High School placed 2nd at the National Personal Finance Challenge. The event was held in Kansas City on May 6, they competed against teams from all participating states. West Chicago Community High School also recently swept the Personal Finance Challenge State Finals!  West Chicago Community High School earned First Place and LaSalle-Peru Township High School earned Second Place this year in the 2017 Illinois Personal Finance Challenge (IPFC) State Finals, a program of Econ Illinois. The event, held April 25 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, involved 10 high school teams from seven high schools advancing to compete for the Championship title. The program saw 487 students participate statewide in the online preliminary round of competition in March.

West Chicago outscored Second Place LaSalle-Peru after a final “Quiz Bowl” round of competition. The First Place team, Michael Sawicki, Jenna Palka, Ross Behr, Jeremy Belingon and teacher Candance Fikis received a trophy and framed certificate for their school, individual medals and certificates as well as Visa gift cards. 

The championship event included individual, team and quiz bowl rounds of competition throughout the day. Tested topics included: Earning Income and Protecting & Insuring; Using Credit and Buying Goods & Services; and Saving & Financial Investing. This year student teams were also involved with a Critical Thinking activity that required addressing a financial scenario and presenting their findings to a finance professional judge.

LaSalle-Peru tested well at the state finals, advancing to the final “Quiz Bowl” round of competition but was not able to outscore West Chicago. The Second Place team, Owen Stoneking, Brendan Sebastian, Lindsey Debosik, Abhi Patel and teacher Scott Lauer received a trophy and framed certificate for their school, individual medals and certificates as well as Visa gift cards.


First Place Team

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs gives medals to the first place team, West Chicago Community High School. 

Second Place Team

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs gives the 2nd place trophy to LaSalle-Peru Township High School.

Illinois Participants in Finance Challenge ONLINE! 2016

Teams from the following eighteen schools competed online for the 2016 Personal Finance Challenge. The number of asterisks (*) indicate the number of teams at the school that advanced to the state finals.  All schools participating in the state event receive a certificate of recognition.

High School

  • Beecher City High School, Beecher City. Kristine Sayers, teacher.
  • *Collinsville High School, Collinsville. Vicki Fuhrhop, teacher.
  • East Aurora High School, Aurora. Michelle Miller, teacher.
  • *La Salle Peru Township High School, La Salle. Scott Lauer, teacher.
  • *Lyons Township High School, LaGrange. Julie Bryar-Smith, teacher
  • Mt. Vernon Township High School, Mt. Vernon. Christi McGee, teacher.
  • **Naperville Central High School, Naperville. C. David Ashton II, teacher.
  • *Naperville North High School, Naperville. Eleanor Barbino, teacher.
  • Neuqua Valley High School, Naperville. Kevin Geers, teacher.
  • Ottawa Township High School, Ottawa. Ryan Gunderson, teacher.
  • *Palatine High School, Palatine. Brent Carroll, teacher.
  • Patoka CUSD #100, Patoka. Theresa King, teacher.
  • ROE Alternative, Zion. Larry Leck, teacher.
  • Scales Mound High School, Scales Mound. Les Virtue, teacher.
  • South Shore International College Prep High School, Chicago. Joan Kane, teacher.
  • Waubonsie Valley High School, Aurora. Bryan Acevedo, teacher.
  • **Waubonsie Valley High School, Aurora. Angie Hysjulien, teacher.
  • West Chicago Community High School, West Chicago. Candace Fikis, teacher.

NEW! 2016 saw the addition of the Illinois Personal Finance Challenge for the middle school level of competition. This inaugural year there were 2 schools that participated in the online competition with a total of 18 student teams. The first, second and third place winning teams that outscored all other students were from St. Gilbert School in Grayslake. Winning students and their teacher received a certificate of recognition and a medal. The winners include:

  • First Place – Cara DeLaclyuse, Mary Huiras, Janie Schulz, Katie Young
  • Second Place – Matt Edejer, Ben Geoffroy, Ethan Haqq, Jason Hironimus
  • Third Place – Allen Abraham, Nolan Cunningham, Matt Powers, Hunter Subrey

Middle School

  • St. Gilbert School, Grayslake. Kristine Buckley, teacher.
  • St. Vincent Ferrer School, River Forest. Edward Sanchez, teacher.

The 2016 Illinois Personal Finance Challenge (IPFC) is a program of Econ Illinois receiving support from BMO Harris with in-kind support provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. IPFC is endorsed by Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs and the STEM Finance Learning Exchange.