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Lexington 2 middle school student, Kai’Lani Norman wins first place for essay on financial planning

Kai’Lani Norman knows a thing or two about creating a long-term financial plan – but don’t just take our word for it.

The New Bridge Academy student won first place among South Carolina middle schoolers for an essay on her long-term investment/financial plan as part of the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite Competition, held this past spring when she was an eighth-grader.

Kai’Lani was surprised with the news at the school this week, as several teachers and administrators, family members, and representatives with SIFMA Foundation and SC Economics cheered. 

Kai’Lani’s essay focused on how to take informed risks when buying and selling stocks. Her investment research included observations of consumers in everyday life and the kinds of products and services they were using. Her advice: “Always learn as you buy and sell … because when you invest your money too fast you will always make mistakes.”

Her teacher, Dr. Harmonica R. Hart, a middle level social studies teacher who has completed her certification for the South Carolina Financial Literacy Master Teacher Program, said teaching kids about finances early is important.

“Students receiving quality personal finance instruction are empowered to make smart money decisions and take charge of their financial futures,” Dr. Hart said. “Kai’Lani’s InvestWrite essay captured the financial knowledge and skills taught in class perfectly. Her financial discernment taught her to think first and act wisely. The concepts that she learned from this opportunity have the potential to not only influence her finances, but also important life choices that she will have to make in the future.”

InvestWrite, a national writing competition, is a program of the SIFMA Foundation offered to teachers and students participating in The Stock Market Game. It aims to add a critical thinking component to help reinforce concepts learned in the classroom, according to the InvestWrite website.

From left, New Bridge Academy Assistant Principal Scott Stogner, teacher Dr. Harmonica Hart, student essay winner Kai’Lani Norman, and New Bridge Principal Elaine Lundy, after this week’s award announcement.

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