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May 24
Student Wins $500 Scholarship from Next Gen Personal Finance
Hannah Evans, a Crystal Lake Central junior, won a $500 scholarship for her essay about an online game, called Payback, which simulates the realities of paying for college. The PAYBACK Challenge engages students by simulating four years of college where they must be financially aware, take classes, and keep a part-time job.

“PAYBACK truly gave me a genuine feel for the reality I’ll soon be facing in college; I will have to start making more significant financial and social choices for the betterment of my academics, social life, and of course, budget. This stimulation also gave me a chance to see how my values lined up and how those value will directly impact the choices I make,” said Hannah Evans, CLC junior.


The PAYBACK challenge is sponsored by Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF). The organization’s mission is to bring effective and engaging financial education to all students across the country. Next Gen Personal Finance founder, Tim Ranzetta, created The PAYBACK Challenge to initiate a conversation between students and parents about crucial decisions in higher education.


“PAYBACK definitely encouraged me to sit down with my Mom and discuss our approach for saving and managing the cost of college in the near future,” said Evans.


Bill Willhoit, a business education teacher, uses PAYBACK in two personal finance classes. He has students play the simulation twice. The first time they play as realistically as possible and the second time he encourages the students to make changes.  Willhoit informs students about the essay opportunity but does not require students to submit essays.


“We do a good job in this district preparing students academically for college, but I want to also make sure students are prepared financially for the next level as well,” said Willhoit.


Evans was one of 150 nationwide selected for the scholarship.


“Although it is great to study up, it is also important to establish a network at the same time and vice versa. Finding balance is somthing I find important in all aspects of life, so whether that be financially, socially or educationally I definitely think it is a valuable lesson to live by,” said Evans.


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