St. Mary’s Ryken (SMR) senior Daniel Allen of Leonardtown, MD, has been awarded a $20,000 scholarship through the H&R Block Budget Challenge.
Daniel, along with the SMR Personal Finance Classes taught by Mrs. Paula McGuigan, competed in the chal-lenge both as individuals and as a class. Students used some class time, but were expected to complete activ-ities on their own. In this session of the challenge, there were 654 classes nationwide participating. The Pe-riod 3 personal finance class ranked 81st, and the Period 5 class was 179th. There were more than 11,000 students who participated and Daniel finished in the top 20 overall.
The Budget Challenge is a computer simulation game that takes place online over the course of eight weeks. Students take on the role of a recent college graduate who has been working for six months and all are as-signed the same job and pay check. They must pay bills – rent, insurance, utilities, transportation, food, stu-dent loans, etc. – from that one paycheck. Students could earn bonus points by avoiding credit card and bank fees and by investing in a 401(k) savings account.
Close to real-life, the challenge would include unexpected expenses. “Every once in a while,” said Daniel, “something new would be thrown at you. One week, it said your cell phone accidentally fell into a toilet and you had to buy a new one and still stay on track with your budget.”
Daniel is considering several colleges and hasn’t settled on one just yet. He would like to major in mechani-cal engineering.
“All of us at St. Mary’s Ryken are proud of the accomplishments of both Daniel and the two classes in this challenge,” said teacher Paula McGuigan. “Financial literacy is important to the future success of our stu-dents, and this budget simulation gives them a realistic picture of what life will look like for them as they graduate college and enter the workforce.”
St. Mary’s Ryken is a college preparatory high school sponsored by the Xaverian Brothers. Approximately 99% of graduates go on to college, and the Class of 2014 earned $12.7 million in scholarships.