High Schoolers Win Big with Essays on Saving

Two Arlington, Virginia high school students have added to their savings by winning first and second place in the annual America Saves Essay Contest organized by Northern Virginia Saves. To enter the contest, students in grades 9-12 wrote essays on the theme, “Saving Involves Self-Motivation and Delayed Gratification” and took the saver pledge. A panel of Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Master Financial Education Volunteers judged the 51 essays submitted from all four high-school grades from 7 high schools in Alexandria and Arlington, VA.

Annabelle Bailey photographed on the Coast of AfricaFirst place winner Annabelle Bailey, a 10th grader at Washington Lee High School, received $650 for her submission about saving toward her goal “to walk on all seven continents before my 18th birthday.” She explained, “This probably stems from my early childhood abroad as a military family member. My time in Seoul, Korea, and trips to China, Vietnam and Japan fueled my desire to experience as many sights, sounds, and even tastes as possible. When I returned to the States…I learned…that it would be significantly harder to travel abroad. Not one to back away from a challenge, I decided that I would take matters into my own hands. But I needed a plan that my parents would agree to.” The agreement was for Annabelle to pay half of her travel costs. She “had to save everything, babysit, and did several fundraisers! It was hard to not do some of the things my friends were doing, and I was reluctant to give things up. I had to trust that the months of saving up would pay off.” Her trust was rewarded with a trip to Australia. She continues to save toward her goal of travel and hopes to reach Antarctica soon.

Aysia Moten saves for an iPhone.Second place winner Aysia Moten, an 11th grader at Wakefield High School, received $400 for her essay about saving toward her goal to buy a new iPhone. She said, “I started my first and current job in July of 2014. From a young age I knew I wanted to get a job, and make my own money. I never knew how much I would love working until my first time opening up a white envelope given to me by my boss, which would be my very first paycheck. I quickly began thinking of ways to spend my money, when my Mom suggested I put half into savings.” She started transferring about $30 per paycheck into savings despite the challenge of paying commuting costs to get work. In order to achieve her goal, she “didn’t mind working extra hours or even helping out around the house more. I realized soon after buying my phone once you save up and pay for something with your own money, you take better care of it and cherish that item more. Making sacrifices and keeping an open mind help [make] saving money for a big purchase worth it.”

CommonWealth One Credit Union of Alexandria donated $500 towards the essay cash prizes, and Arlington Community Federal Credit Union of Arlington donated $300 towards gift cards for students who attended the award ceremony, but did not win one of the cash prizes.

Take the Pledge

Savers who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. 

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Katie Bryan | November 29, 2013

    Transferring money from checking to savings is the fastest way to #save $500 to $1,000 http://ow.ly/PZR8h 

Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Starting Over

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

Until last summer, Michael Lindman spent money freely. “I was a union truck driver for 35 years and had a good income,” said Lindman. “I owned my own home, saved a little, and tried to live within my own budget. You always think there’s going to be that much coming in, but things can change in a split second.”

Read more...

Getting Out of Debt

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

In 2004, Tonya Shelton was facing financial ruin. Barely making more than minimum wage and having lost her home to an unexpected family crisis, Shelton and her family were forced to live in a rundown hotel.

Read more...

Saving With My Boys

Written by | September 2, 2019

When Kelly was a kid, she loved the picture book A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams. In the story, a little girl lives in an apartment with her mother and grandmother. The little girl’s mother is a waitress and sole provider for their family. Together the family saves money by putting their change in a giant jar every day. They are saving for a big cushy chair for the little girl’s hard-working mother. Together with patience and diligence, they buy the mother a very comfy chair.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Start Saving

Receive Texts

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

Learn More

Partner News & Updates

Written by Katie Bryan | October 18, 2013

Sign Up