St. Clair (Mich.) High School senior Noah Westrick is a personal finance whiz and now has a $20,000 scholarship to show for it through his participation in the H&R Block Budget Challenge! We spoke with him to learn more about what financial skills have made him real-world ready and how the scholarship changed his life.
Would you say your St. Clair classmates are financially savvy?
In many states, financial classes aren’t required, and I think they absolutely should be. I’ve learned so much, and I’m not even halfway through the year. I’d like to see education like this happen around the world. There are no negatives to it.
Did you have any prior financial education before taking the H&R Block Budget Challenge?
I had nothing, pretty much. All I knew was anything that my family told me and anything I found out on my own. I went into this class where we took the H&R Block Budget Challenge to learn as much as I could about finances,and so far that’s helped me.
When you were introduced to the H&R Block Budget Challenge, how interested were you in participating?
To be honest, at the beginning, I was ready to do it and thought it’d be a great way to learn. But I wasn’t as excited as I was halfway through when I saw my rank rose from 965 to 57 in one day. Then I started to really enjoy the simulation. Every day I’d wake up, and the first thing I’d do is check and see how I was doing. Near the end, it would be multiple times a day I’d log in to see if anything happened.
Did you talk to your family about what you learned throughout the simulation?
I remember at the beginning when I did the vendor selection I didn’t know what a deductible was, and I had to ask my dad about that.
How did you and your classmates encourage each other to participate?
Two of my best friends, who also won scholarships, all three of us talked all the time about the Budget Challenge and tried to make a strategy together. We did things like that throughout the entire simulation.
Did you enjoy participating in the H&R Block Budget Challenge?
Yes! The H&R Block Budget Challenge taught me a lot, like how to use credit cards properly, what a 401K was, and how to write a check.
Do you think the H&R Block Budget Challenge has helped you become real-world ready?
Yes, I do. I feel like this has improved my real-world skills so much. I feel like this has taken years of hardship of me. I’ve learned so much about finances through the simulation. I loved it.
Where will you be continuing your education after high school graduation?
For my first two years I’m going to go to St. Clair Community College, then I’m going to transfer to probably Western Michigan University, and that’s when I’ll use my $20,000 scholarship.
Is it cool to be financially savvy as a teen?
I think yes, especially in St. Clair, because the winners have been congratulated by everyone. Now everyone wants to take the H&R Block Budget Challenge and win $20,000 too.
Learning financial literacy is fun with the H&R Block Budget Challenge. To find out more about how your teenagers or students can learn real-world money management skills without the real-world consequences, encourage your teachers to register here for the next H&R Block Budget Challenge simulation.