Answer: TruMark Financial Credit Union’s 2021 Financial Jeopardy Competition.
Question: What annual event, held virtually this year, put $11,000 in scholarships funds into the pockets of area students heading to college?
Eight local students participated in the Jeopardy-style game show organized and hosted by TruMark Financial. The initiative, aimed at instilling financial literacy in high school seniors, is part of the organization’s overall “Building Financial Futures” outreach.
The student competition is one of several TruMark Financial programs designed to augment traditional in-class teaching. Other initiatives include financial literacy fairs and live discussions on savings, budgeting, credit, and investing — all essentials for a college-bound or career-launching graduate.
The Financial Jeopardy event normally has all the bells and whistles of its televised counterpart: audience, podiums, buzzers, and a large screen of answers requiring proper questions. The organizers even recreate Final Jeopardy’s nail-biting conclusion.
The 2021 version, however, took a different form, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions.
A panel of credit union representatives gave the contestants two money-management scenarios. The teens then had to address the proposed financials, formulating written responses from their storehouse of personal finance knowledge.
An interview round followed, where the quiz kids were asked about budgeting, credit, and how credit unions differ from banks.
The last round featured no wagering; instead, TruMark Financial board of directors and representatives judged the contestants on the essays, personal interviews, and their critical thinking.
Financial Jeopardy champ was Rebecca Zajac, a senior at Radnor High School. She walked away with $5,000 toward her dual environmental studies/interdisciplinary arts degrees at Tufts University.
“Attending a private university is a big financial decision and having the opportunity for scholarships such as the one offered by TruMark Financial will help make my dreams possible,” said Zajac.
She added that her personal finance class helped prepare her as she embarks on college and becomes more financially independent.
Dhruvi Patel, representing Bensalem High School, placed second in the competition. She received a $3,000 scholarship.
Patel is headed to Drexel University where she plans to major in computer science.
“This scholarship will greatly help me finance some of my college education and allow me to focus on important things such as my academics and community service without having to constantly worry about my expenses,” commented Patel.
Abraham Lincoln High School senior Arbiona Muzhaqi finished third and won a $2,000 scholarship.
She will be pursuing a degree in management information systems at Drexel University.
As both a junior and a senior, Muzhaqi attended TruMark Financial in-person and virtual classroom presentations. She said that they enriched her personal finance knowledge.
Unlike TV’s Jeopardy where only three smarties get to compete from behind the podium, the TruMark Financial version had a wider field of participants. That led to a larger number of winners.
In addition to the top three, five other players received $200 credit union savings accounts:
- Shannon Clancy, Upper Dublin High School
- Kaitlin Hershey, Archbishop Wood High School
- Kyle Maher, Neshaminy High School
- Maria Sousa, Northeast High School
- Brooke Timer, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
The challenge featured all the hallmarks of its syndicated model: excited contestants, financial reward, challenging questions, and quick thinking. It even had a giant presentation check for the winner.
The only things missing were Johnny Gilbert announcing and GOAT Ken Jennings running roughshod over the other members of the panel.