Students in three sections of Mr. John Daly's Upper School Investment and Entrepreneurship classes just concluded competing in the online teen financial literacy program called the H&R Block Budget Challenge. The competition took place over a nine-week period from September 13 through November 22.
Students competed classroom against classroom, and student against student in this real-life, learn-by-doing simulation. Students paid bills, managed expenses, saved money, invested in a 401K, paid taxes, and faced fees and penalties for paying bills late or for going over credit card limits.
Over 1,000 classes from around the country participated in the simulation, and Mr. Daly's classes took first, second, and third place in the competition. Over 21,000 students competed, and 42 out of 50 SAS students placed in the top 5%.
Several Scots impressively scored in the top 1% including: Anthony Molle, Fernando Duran, Dalen Michaels, Dariana Rodriguez, Yiyan Chen, Remy Kennelly, Emily Louie, Daniela Garcia, Yasmin Rizvi, Nicole Terry, Matt Adams, Jett Sacks, Shichao Li, Juan Aular, Luke Slosar, Siena Vasan, Billy Swann, Ben Mores, Anwar Maroun, Sebastian Asseraf, and Yanting Wu.
Students weren’t the only leaders of this competition. Mr. Daly took first place in the teacher competition where 447 other teachers competed. But it is his enthusiasm for the authenticity of this challenge that rings truest for Mr. Daly.
“I am most excited by the real world nature of this competition, and am very proud of our students competitive spirit and their interest and desire to learn more about these personal finance topics,” said John Daly, Upper School Investment and Entrepreneurship teacher.
The contest considers three skill areas to be the most important in determining top student scoring: balancing current and future cash needs, paying bills on time and on a budget, and overall resourcefulness, understanding, and practical application of financial concepts.
The H&R Block challenge program promotes the idea in financial management that timing is everything. “In this game, like in real life, learning money management skills, using an EXCEL spreadsheet for budgeting, and contributing to your 401K to save for the future are crucial lessons for students to learn,” he added.
When asked if students are more interested in learning about money management as a result of their work on the H&R Block Challenge, 88% said “yes”.
When asked if the H&R Block Budget simulation was a valuable experience, 100% responded with a resounding affirmative showing that Scots not only learned that timing is everything - they also had a great time learning.