The Kay Schmidt Young Economic Scholarship

Scholarship Description

The Kay Schmidt Scholarship will provide $1,000 cash scholarship (in the form of a personal check) to one Colorado high school junior or senior who has taken a high school economics class. Sponsoring teacher will receive an award of $250.

The recipient of this scholarship will be selected by a committee of economic and business professionals and will be judged on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate insight into an economic way of thinking.  Essays with a compelling personal voice have the greatest chance of selection.  Applicants must respond to the essay prompt provided and incorporate one or more of the three basic economic principles mentioned.

Who is Kay Schmidt? 

Kay Schmidt holds the distinction of being a founder of Economic Literacy Colorado in 1971. She went on to become the initial Executive Director (1976 – 1994) and was a member of its Board of Directors (2000 – 2012). Few have a greater passion for economic education. Kay spent untold hours engaged in the challenging and creative work of finding first-rate economics professors and mentor teachers to teach Economic Literacy Colorado’s classes, as well as finding reliable financial supporters. Those endeavors served to lay the foundation for the organization’s success. Her contribution to economic education and her advocacy of a free enterprise system in the state of Colorado is inestimable. The Young Economist Scholarship has been created in honor of Kay’s contributions and her legacy.

Essay Prompt "What Economics Means to Me"

Three of the Basic Economic Principles Considered

  • People choose. Most situations involve making choices. People evaluate the costs and benefits of different alternatives and choose the alternative that seems best to them.
  • People’s choices involve costs. Costs do not necessarily involve money. The most important type of cost is opportunity cost: the next best alternative that people give up when they make a choice.
  • People respond to incentives in predictable ways. Incentives are actions or rewards that encourage people to act in a certain way. Incentives can be either positive or negative. When incentives change, people’s behavior changes in predictable ways.

Essay Parameters

Essays must be between 500 – 700 words (minimum and maximum). Spelling and grammar matter.  In addition to the completed essay, each student must submit a one paragraph biography of approximately 75 words.

Entry Deadline

The essay submission deadline is March 30, 2018. The selected student must be able and willing to read his/her essay at the April 2018 Economic Literacy Colorado luncheon at the Denver Country Club in Denver. (The student will receive two additional tickets to the luncheon. A travel stipend will be given to any student traveling more than 50 miles.) The selected essay will be placed on website and could be released to local media and/or broader media. 

Additional details

  • This contest is open to legal residents of Colorado who are in their junior or senior year of schooling at the time of the submission.
  • The student must be enrolled in or have successfully completed a high school economics course.
  • A student applicant must have a teacher sponsor.
  • One application allowed per person. If it is determined that a person has entered with more than one identity, all of that person’s entries will be disqualified.
  • No prize will be awarded to an applicant who does not meet the eligibility requirements. All information on the application must be accurate and complete.
  • All work must be the original work of the applicant. Plagiarism in any form will result in disqualification.
  • The applicant with the winning entry will receive a cash scholarship of $1,000 in the form of a personal check. Where the winner is a minor, the scholarship check will be awarded to the winner’s parent or guardian, as custodian for the winner. 

Essay Contest Entry Form

Suggestion: paste your essay into field from a different application. Once pasted, please review the formatting of your essay (for example, paragraphing).
Your Teacher's Phone Contact *
Your Teacher's Phone Contact
Your Current Grade Level *

CCEE Awards
Fort Collins High School Senior with Young Economist Scholarship

Elizabeth Thilmany, a Fort Collins High School senior, was awarded a $1,000 LaKay Schmidt Young Economist Scholarship by Colorado Council for Economic Education, named in honor of the Council’s founding president.

Thilmany earned the scholarship by writing a winning essay, “Why Economic Understanding Matters to Me.” Thilmany’s economics teacher, Sarah Keller, received a $250 award.

“Economics is essential to our society and, whether we are aware or not, unavoidable,” said Thilmany in her essay. “There is little hope for a society which lacks a basic understanding of budgeting, the implications of consumer choices, and the national economic situation.”

Colorado Council for Economic Education provides professional development classes in economics and personal finance to 1,000+ K-12 teachers annually, who in turn reach more than 100,000 students with life-changing knowledge.