Valuing our future: Business teacher awarded Economic Educator of the Year


Jaxon Parker, Staff Writer

Whether we like it or not, almost every decision we make in life is related to economics. From the products we purchase to the services we use, everything hinges on the relationship between consumers and producers which make the economy. Business teachers such as Melissa Schram offer vital information on the economy for students, and after her success with the AP Economy classes and the many awards won by her Economy Club, she is being recognized by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education for Economic Educator of the Year.

According to the website of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, the award is given out to teachers “who have made a major impact over the years on the teaching of economics and personal finance in the state of Nebraska.” In order to contend for the award, Schram was nominated by four of colleagues to win, one of them being business teacher Janine Ellis.

“She’s very dedicated to her craft,” Ellis said. “Ms. Schram is so involved with  activities through the Council on Economic Education, she also teaches a UNO class for social studies teachers. She’s gotten the Economic Club started and got them involved in events where they won a lot of awards this year.”

The full name of award is the Reiser Economic Educator of the Year, in honor of Mary Lynn Reiser who spent about 30 years educating students across the state of Nebraska about finance and economics. When Schram was awarded, Mary Lynn Reiser was there to give the award herself.

“I was so surprised, I didn’t know anything about it until they walked in with it,” Schram said. “It means a lot because I really am passionate about economics and I’ve been fortunate to work with the wonderful leadership in the Nebraska Council on Economic Education.”

The award also comes in reaction to Schram’s success in her AP classes and Economy Club.  Last year many of Schram’s students from the AP Micro and Macro Economics classes joined together to create the Economy Club. With a sponsorship from Schram, they created the club in order to help study together for the upcoming AP exams and win some competitions and scholarships along the way. Senior Owen Gong was one of the founders of the Economy Club.

“At first it was mainly to serve for the competitions, but then Ms. Schram kept finding more activities for us to do,” Gong said. “We could choose which ones we wanted to participate in, and this year has been pretty successful.”

One of the biggest competitions the club participated in was the National Economics Competition. Last year at the state finals for the competition Millard West won 3rd place, but this year they came in 1st place, and ranked in 24th place nationwide.

“Considering we were competing at the national level, I thought that getting into the top half was an accomplishment,” Gong said.

Other students such as senior Dawson Beutler were grateful for Schram’s dedication to helping students unfamiliar with economics to have a better understanding.

“Coming into the fall I really didn’t know much about economics, but under Ms. Schram, I learned a lot,” Beutler said. “Just when working through practice questions she’s always been helpful answering any questions and helping us through any errors we make. I think the good scores on the AP exams and our success in Economy Club is reflective on how well she’s taught us this year.”

Many of the accomplishments from Schram’s students stem from her dedication and passion for education and economics. Her commitment to teaching both AP Micro and Macro Economics means a lot more hard work for preparing and educating students than standard classes, but it means her students can achieve more success on the exams and even save money on tuition costs.  

“She went above and beyond what a normal teacher would do,” business teacher Janet Butler said. “She got a second masters degree so she could make that economics class dual enrolled which took her a couple summers to go to Delaware and take a few classes in order to make that program dual enrolled.”  

As the school year is ending and many of the senior students in the Economy Club are about to graduate, they are still participating in activities for the Economy Club with the help of Schram. Currently, they are competing in the ‘Rockonomics’ competition, where students create parody music videos of pop songs based on economic concepts in order to win money to help pay for college tuition.

“If it weren’t for Ms. Schram, we wouldn’t have competed in the competition,” Gong said. “She’s always there to sponsor us and answer any questions we might have, she’s just a great host of the club.”

With Schram being awarded Economic Educator of the Year, it only goes to show her dedication and success in the Economy Club and her AP Economy classes. Her teachings and guidance for her students have made them more prepared for the future as they graduate and begin to make economic and financial decisions for themselves.