Teachers often work double-duty to make sure teens are well-equipped with the knowledge they need to succeed. One example is Paxon School for Advanced Studies teacher Kathryn Loggie.
In addition to teaching grades 9-12 journalism and computer science, Loggie is the supervisor for an after school club called LifeSmarts, where students learn about life skills, including finance. It was in this class that Loggie introduced her students to the H&R Block Budget Challenge. Because of her efforts three students walked away with $20,000 scholarships and Loggie won a classroom grant! See what she had to say about the program.
Do you think the students in your community are well-versed in money management?
Definitely not. Teens today need to know about credit, credit cards and how easy it is to get into debt. Students preparing for college need to know about student loans, how they’re going to pay them back, and the implications of not paying them back.
How did you find out about the H&R Block Budget Challenge?
I got an email last year about it that sounded intriguing. Finance is a subject we’ve been covering in the LifeSmarts club for a number of years. We thought we’d give it a try and we did OK the first year. I was disappointed none of my students last year won scholarships, but we made up for it this year!
How did your students enjoy the simulation?
They really enjoyed it. They liked having that persona in the simulation where they had to guess what they were going to do and spend their money on. A lot of students would say, “Can you believe my person spent that much on entertainment?!”
Have you found that your students have more financial-related conversations after taking the Budget Challenge?
Absolutely. The students can conduct an intelligent conversation on personal finance with anyone now. Sometimes we have guest speakers come in and I tell them that the students really understand it at a high level and don’t need to talk down to them.
As a teacher, what did you enjoy about the simulation?
The quizzes were great. Some of them were very difficult, but we worked through the quizzes and the students really learned from them.
How did you react when you found out your class had multiple winners?
I had students who participated both years, but as far as getting to the top, I don’t know if we even thought that was possible given the number of students who participated in the Budget Challenge. We were so pleasantly surprised when we had three individual scholarship winners!
Would you recommend the Budget Challenge to other teachers? Why?
Just look at the benefits in terms of the scholarships and grant money—that alone is enough to participate. We’ve gotten a lot of publicity at the district level about this too. I’ve even gotten emails from parents asking how they can get their son or daughter involved. It’s well worthwhile!
What do you plan to use the grant money on?
I would like to take the students on field trips, like to the Jacksonville branch of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank. I’ll probably also use it to buy additional resource materials for the students.