Volume 2 Number 17
April 25, 2005



CFO Gallagher presented the First Place award in Region 3 to Katie Reynolds of H.B. Plant High School.

CFO Gallagher and Robert Buesing of H.B. Plant High School in Tampa with his third place plaque for Region 3.

Kimberly Thomas receives her third place check for Region 4 at William R. Boone High School in Orlando.




Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced the names of three students who were the top picks in Region 2 in the essay contest aimed at encouraging financial education among middle and high school students.  Gallagher presented checks to two of the students at their school in Jacksonville.

CFO Gallagher presents "Cash in on your Money Smarts"  plaques to Andrew O'Bar, left, and Nathan Maxwell, right, of Stanton College Preparatory School in Jacksonville in Region 2.

The contest, “Cash in on Your Money Smarts,” asked students, ages 14 to 18, to submit at least a 750-word essay on why they considered themselves money smart and offered students a chance at more than $7,500 in prizes statewide.  First, second and third place prizes will be awarded to teens in given geographic regions, for a total of 15 winners statewide.  Nearly 600 students participated this year.

“This essay contest was a great way to encourage Florida’s young people to show off their financial knowledge and writing skills, and reward them for it,” Gallagher said.  “Learning these valuable skills now will pave the way for a lifetime of financial success.”

The winners named represent one of the five regions that competed in the contest.  Region 2 covers a 16-county area, including Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, Baker, Union, Bradford, Alachua, Nassau, Duval and Clay.  The winners are: 

First Place:  Nathan Maxwell, 15, is in 10th grade at Stanton College Preparatory School in Jacksonville

Second Place:  Elizabeth Ann Pagan, 16, is in 11th grade at F.W. Bucholz High School in Gainesville

Third Place
:   Andrew O’Bar, 18, is in 12th grade at Stanton College Preparatory School in Jacksonville

First, second and third place winners will receive $750, $500 and $250 respectively. Winners in Regions 1 and 5 will be announced within the next two weeks. 

The essay contest is part of Gallagher’s statewide public education initiative, Your Money, Your Life, which is designed to help Floridians avoid debt and build assets, including savings, investing and home ownership.  Gallagher started the program last fall in response to a recent survey reporting that many Floridians put themselves at financial risk by waiting too late to save and by running up debt.  The program includes a comprehensive educational website available at

Judging the contest were representatives from the Florida Council on Economic Education, a non-profit organization that supports financial education initiatives in schools and businesses statewide.  In addition, department employees Fred Varn and Greg Thomas, who serve on their area school boards, participated in the judging process. 

Financial support for the “Cash in on Your Money Smarts” essay contest is provided by a grant from the Investor Protection Trust (IPT).  The IPT is a nonprofit organization devoted to investor education. Since 1993, the IPT has worked with the States to provide the independent, objective investor education needed by all Americans to make informed investment decisions. Their website is

Gadsden, Florida's fifth county, was formed in 1823. It once ran from Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Suwannee River to the Apalachicola River. Quincy, the county seat, was incorporated in 1828. The courthouse, above, was built in 1912.