Announcing the Winner of the 2017 Young Economist Scholarship

Economic Literacy Colorado Awards Fort Collins High School Senior with Young Economist Scholarship

Sarah Keller, teacher; Elizabeth Thilmany, winning student; and LaKay Schmidt, founding CCEE President

Sarah Keller, teacher; Elizabeth Thilmany, winning student; and LaKay Schmidt, founding CCEE President


April 28, 2017 Denver – Elizabeth Thilmany, a senior at Fort Collins High School, has been awarded the inaugural “LaKay Schmidt Young Economist Scholarship” by Economic Literacy Colorado . The presentation of the $1,000 scholarship took place during Economic Literacy Colorado ’s annual Investor Appreciation Luncheon in Denver. LaKay Schmidt presented the award to Thilmany.

Thilmany earned the scholarship by writing the winning essay in response to, “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. Therefore, I have decided to dedicate my life to the science of economics. Economics matters.”

The LaKay Schmidt Young Economist Scholarship was created this year in honor of the Economic Council’s founding president, LaKay Schmidt, who led the newly formed nonprofit from 1976-1994. Her contribution to economic education and her advocacy of a free enterprise system lay the foundation for the organization’s success. This annual scholarship will honor her legacy of economic education in Colorado.

More than 60 students submitted an essay for the inaugural competition, which was open to Colorado high school juniors and seniors who have taken a high school economics class. The scholarship will be offered again in 2018. Information will be available in January, at www.econlitco.org.

Announcing the Winner of 2017 Koelbel Enterprising Teacher of the Year Award

Koelbel Enterprising Teacher of the Year Award

Congratulations to 2017 Recipient Ken Benson

ken benson pic.jpg

Each year through a competitive application process, the Economic Literacy Colorado selects an exemplary teacher of economics and/or personal finance as its Koelbel Enterprising Teacher of the Year. This year’s honoree is Ken Benson, from Niwot High School in the St. Vrain Valley School District. Ken is the 30th in a long list of distinguished award recipients.

When Ken started at Niwot thirteen years ago, he was offered a one-semester economics survey course to teach. He has since grown the offerings at Niwot to include two full-year Advanced Placement classes and two International Baccalaureate classes, all in economics. He sponsors a student-led economics club and has taken the lead in his district to help develop economic and personal finance curriculum. He has participated in economic study tours to South Africa and Peru, and has been a mentor teacher for several Economic Literacy Colorado teacher training workshops. 

Ken has clearly distinguished himself as an ardent supporter and promoter of economic education in Colorado. 

Award funded by the
Buz and Sherri Koelbel Endowment