Raymond Tinajero just won a $1,000 scholarship that he didn’t apply for. When he scored in the top 10% in the nation on the National Financial Capabilities Challenge he was selected randomly by the Charles Schwab Foundation to get the $1,000 scholarship and a $1,000 grant for his school.
It all started with a financial education workshop from SCE Federal Credit Union in his Virtual Enterprise and Economics classes at his high school in Baldwin Park, CA facilitated by financial education speaker and author Shay Olivarria. According to SCE Federal Credit Union Foundation Manager Abby Ulm, “we facilitate between 40-50 financial education classes at BPHS each year”. SCE Federal Credit Union partners with schools in the community to help students become better acquainted with personal finance. “With an understanding of financial basics, such as budgeting, saving, investing and credit, these young people can avoid common money mistakes and experience financial success in their future”, says Ms. Ulm. Make no mistake about it, helping students helps us all. Ulm is quick to add, “More financially savvy young people will result in a brighter financial future for all of us”.
After participating in classes on budgeting, credit, investing, insurance, and other personal finance topics Raymond took the National Financial Capabilities Challenge at school. His teacher, Mr. Craig Peacock, made sure that all of the students in his Virtual Enterprise class took the online test during class. Ulm thinks that high school is a great time to teach financial education, “By high school, most students have begun to experience what it’s like to have and spend their own money. Yet they are still sheltered from the aggressive credit solicitations and advertising gimmicks that become financial pitfalls for college students and young adults. In a sense, high school students are “clean slates,” financially speaking. It is the perfect time for them to learn the right way to manage money, how to build and protect their credit, and how to develop smart money habits”.
According to the Charles Schwab Foundation’s website, “ Scholarships of $1,000 each to 20 students selected by lottery from among the top 10 percent highest-scoring students nationally. In addition, five $1,000 scholarships will go to students who score in the top 10 percent among all participating students who attend low-income public schools. The Charles Schwab Foundation also gives grants of $1,000 to the school or organization that contributed to the student’s financial education, in this case Baldwin Park High School.
Raymond will use his $1,000 scholarship to attend Mt. San Antonio College in the fall. He says, “I want to achieve a master’s degree in Kinesiology and I want to be able to give my athletic trainer skills back to the world of sports”.
When asked if he has any tips for next year’s graduating Seniors he says, “All I want to say is that always keep track on all assignments, make sure all deadlines are meet, aim for improvement, and never lose focus of the goal to graduate”.