Panther Valley's Personal Finance students excelled in The National Finance Capabilities Challenge, a test administered by the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Education to increase students' financial knowledge so they can take control over their financial futures.

Students learn how to prepare for making smart choices about earning and spending, saving and investing, using credit wisely, insurance and risk management, taxes and paying college and more.

Eighty-four thousand three hundred seventy-two students took the test nationally with an average score of 69 percent. Pennsylvania schools ranked number one for the highest number of participating schools, participating teachers, the highest number of students who scored in the top 20 percent percentile and the state also ranked fourth in the nation for the highest number of students with perfect scores.

For Panther Valley, John Owens scored a perfect 100 percent on the test, one of only 40 students in the state and 563 nationally. Emily Clewell, Bryn Watkins and Brandon Ketrick scored in the top 10 percent and Gus Altemose, Justin Bittner and Amber Schmidt scored in the top 20 percent percentile.

Teacher, Sue Solt said with the economy the way it is, it is imperative that we give the students every advantage to achieve their future financial goals.

Stock Market Game

Solt said she is also extremely proud of her students who attained a high average in the Stock Market Game, a 10-week challenge whereby students build diverse on-line portfolios that are ranked by week, against regional and national participation.

The program offers a vast library of learning materials correlated to national and state education standards in Math, Business Education, Economics, English/Language Arts, Technology, Social Studies and Family and Consumer Sciences.

During the exercise, students research and evaluate stocks, learn how to read stock tables, analyze economic trends and financial information as they trade common stocks and mutual funds from the NYSE, Nasdaq, and AMEX exchanges.

Panther Valley, with two teams, competed in the Scranton region with 152 other teams and nationally with 1490 teams. They won the regional challenge with a 4.6873% growth return above the S&P 500 with a portfolio balance of $108,743.72.

This is the first time that the students have completed the challenge and they exceeded all of Solt's expectations.