To Financial Literacy And Beyond: Recognizing The Great Work Of Budget Challenge Educators

May 03, 2016 : H&R Block

“A teacher affects eternity…” said American historian Henry Adams. Those true words ring especially sweet today, as the United States marks its national Teacher Appreciation Day.

Although we celebrate and value our teachers throughout the year, this is an especially important time to recognize their hard work. In the White House’s 2015 proclamation for the day, it issued a statement saying teachers “…teach the subjects and skills that will fuel the next century of growth and innovation, as well as the virtues and values … that will prepare their students to take on the challenges of the future.”

These are all reasons why H&R Block’s Dollars and Sense financial education program has partnered with high school teachers to deliver Budget Challenge to students across the country. We know teachers have a lasting impact on their students individually and on society as a whole. What subject is more important in that regard than personal finance? Some students may not have to write memos as part of their future jobs; some may never use geometry again. But they all will need to manage personal and household finances in order to be successful.

According to the H&R Block Dollars and Sense team, only seven states require high school students to be tested on personal finance. Our Budget Challenge program helps fill that curriculum gap and teaches teens how to manage their money in the real world.

Plus, there are monetary incentives. Students can win $20,000 scholarships (and $100,000 for the overall annual winner), and teachers can get $5,000 classroom grants. But the education still trumps the money for these dedicated teachers.

“You win so much more than $20,000 by participating in the H&R Block Budget Challenge. You learn the skills and education you need,” said Deane Western, economics and government teacher at the State College of Florida Collegiate School.

For Greg Eppes, teacher at Clements High School, the competitive element was just as rewarding as any monetary award.

“Those few days of having the kids up at the top of the ranking were amazing. I pushed them and encouraged them and every night I would wake up and log on to check the scores to see how they were doing. That was my reward, just seeing them doing well,” he said.

And for Sherry Brown at Guntersville High School (pictured at the top of the post), the knowledge of giving her students a better future fueled her participating with Budget Challenge.

“Forty percent of the students in Guntersville schools qualify for free and reduced lunch based off of their household’s income. There are a large amount of students whose living conditions are less than average,” she said. “Anything I can do to help better these students to get out their current conditions is always a goal of mine.”

These are just a few of the fantastic teachers we are privileged to partner with at H&R Block. They are all dedicated to furthering their students’ personal financial education. They are all making a difference on these children for an eternity. We hope you – and all hardworking teachers – feel appreciated on this day, and every day. We certainly know we couldn’t be as effective teaching financial literacy without you.

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