Economics Educator of the Year Award

We are #PaduaPROUD of Bethann Higley for being awarded the 2023 Bonnie T. Meszaros Economics Educator of the Year Award! Bethann attended UD’s Center for Economic Education & Entrepreneurship (CEEE) Economics Education Conference today to receive the award and cash prize of $1,000. In his congratulatory letter, Scott Bacon, Assistant Director for Economic Education, wrote, “You exemplify the best qualities in teaching, professional learning and economic program development in the state of Delaware. Your dedication to your students and passion for economics education serves as a model for teachers across the state.”  

In her acceptance speech, Bethann stated that she was extremely honored to be this year’s recipient of the Bonnie T. Meszaros Economics Educator of the Year award.  Affirming that that no one accomplishes anything in this life on their own, she expressed gratitude for her colleagues at Padua Academy and folks at the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship.  Bethann also thanked her students, "who come to school ready to learn. Their overall positive attitude and willingness to participate gives me the motivation to teach engaging lessons that make an impact."  And finally ended thanking her husband for suggesting she apply for the job at Padua 7 years ago and for his constant support.

Congratulations, Bethann, on your work in your classroom, school, Delaware and beyond. You are the key to helping the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship fulfill its vision: To see all students graduate as economically literate and productive citizens.

Pictured: Professor Bonnie Meszaros (the UD Economics Educator after whom this award is named), Bethann Highley, Professor Carlos Asarta, Director of The Council for Economics Education at UD, and past recipient Kylie Holliday.


Read below comments from Sophia Dempsey '24 which were quoted by the Director when giving Mrs. Higley the award:

1). What lessons in economics /entrepreneurship did she teach that you liked or found particularly interesting/relevant? In entrepreneurship class last year, I really enjoyed her lesson about franchising. This was very fun because she assigned a project in which we had to “open” our own location of a franchise. We had to do research and make a presentation that included where we would open it (we had to actually find a lot or building), why we would choose this location / why it would be successful (how would this bring in customers, is it near a highway, is it near a town?) and work out pricing, staff, and create a presentation that combined everything. We would present this to the class, and I remember being excited to see everyone else’s project and how we all went about this a different way. This year, I have really enjoyed the stock market lesson and participating in the stock market challenge. One thing I really like about this is how we will go over our successes and failures together as a class, despite being in different groups. I also like how this teaches me to understand the market in a way that I can actively participate in it and get a feel for what it is like to be in the stock market.
2) What about her personally-her manner, enthusiasm, etc. made her lessons easy to follow and engaging? Personally, I think that she has the enthusiasm to teach and engage her students. She is always bringing new current events up for discussion and I have always enjoyed her class because she is a very fun person overall. Her class environment is like a little community. We are all friends, and we are all very encouraging of each other. I appreciate her because I think she has really created this type of environment through her own attitude. She is very easy to talk to; even if you get a question wrong in class, you never feel embarrassed or bad because of her encouraging attitude. She is always trying to actively help her students. She always says hello, and overall, she is just an amazing person and teacher who I trust and who I can rely on. I think that she has been one of the most influential teachers that I have had at Padua because of all of these things.
3) Why were her lessons important for life? (I know that not everyone is going into economics, but Mrs. Higley’s lessons are what every citizen should know about economics.) As you get older, especially as you move into college, managing your money is extremely important to your success. This starts with saving and learning how to do it well. This doesn’t mean hoarding under a mattress though. It is also important to learn ways to grow your money and manage it while investing it in ways that you can create wealth for yourself. I think that Ms. Higley’s class is extremely important because these life skills and learning to understand these aspects set you up for success and good money habits that will carry on for the rest of your life. Learning about economics is also important because then you will have a better understanding about current events and how they might affect your own investments. With this knowledge, you can make better and more informed decisions in regard to your finances.

Spirituality. Scholarship. Service. Sisterhood.