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Posted on: May 1, 2018

State Winners Announced in 2018 Financial Essay Scholarship Contest

Topeka, KS—A high school senior from Derby was the overall winner in the 2018 Kansas Financial Scholars Essay Contest announced Monday. 

Holly Mills, from Derby High School, received first in the annual contest, which is sponsored by the Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner, the Kansas Insurance Department and the Office of the State Bank Commissioner.  She was awarded a $2,500 tuition scholarship to her Kansas school of higher education choice for the 2018-2019 school year.

Second place, with a $2,000 scholarship, was awarded to Elise Artzer, Wamego High School. Third place and a $1,500 scholarship went to Daniel Nolasco, Scott Community High School, Scott City.  Fourth place and a $1,000 scholarship was awarded to Jordan Hawman, Jefferson West High School-Meriden. Fifth place and a $500 scholarship went to Baleigh Fry, Great Bend High School. 

Honorable mention awards of $250 each were presented to Halle Lang, Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, Hays; Andrew Cunningham, St. Thomas Aquinas, Overland Park; Jazmyne Florio, Derby High School; and Keaton Means, home school, Lenexa.

Seniors from across the state submitted a total of 75 two-part essays for the annual contest. To be eligible, students must have participated in at least one of three financial literacy programs sponsored by the state agencies:  EverFi, Stock Market Game, or the Personal Finance Challenge. Kansas high schools voluntarily participate in the programs. 

Students wrote a short essay on either their financial and lifestyle expectations twenty years from now, or the experiences and role models that have shaped their financial views and habits up to the present. In a follow-up essay, students provided an analysis of the cost of various schools of higher education, the positive and negative aspects of student loans, and the earning potential of their chosen field. 

The winning essay appears on the website of the Office of the Securities Commissioner at

“The essay contest highlights the knowledge students have gained through participation in financial literacy programs,” said Jennifer Cook, Deputy Bank Commissioner, Division of Consumer and Mortgage Lending.  “This knowledge will help prepare them for the next step in their lives.  We are pleased to join in support of these financial literacy programs.”

“By year’s end, a grand total of $30,000 in scholarship money will have been awarded over the past four years to Kansas seniors who choose to attend a school of higher learning right here in Kansas,” said John Wine, Securities Commissioner.

“Our agencies believe that these investments in our young people now will have future benefits for the state of Kansas,” said Clark Shultz, Assistant Commissioner of Insurance. “We are working together to ensure that all Kansas students have access to these quality financial education programs.”

For more information about the financial literacy programs offered through the state agencies, contact Shannon Santschi, Director of Investor Education, at the Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner, 785-296-1055 or visit the Securities Commissioner’s website,


2018 Kansas Financial Essay Scholarship Winners:

Holly Mills, Derby, $2,500

Elise Artzer, Wamego, $2,000

Daniel Nolasco, Scott City, $1,500

Jordan Hawman, Meriden, $1,000

Baleigh Fry, Great Bend, $500

Honorable Mention
($250 each)

Hallee Lang, Hays

Andrew Cunningham, Overland Park

Jazmyne Florio, Derby

Keaton Means, Lenexa

The mission of the Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner (KSC) is to protect and inform Kansas investors; to promote integrity, fairness, and full disclosure in financial services; and to foster capital formation.

Click here for a PDF of the release.
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