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Wilcox Students Win National Finance Competition 

June 2020

Our new virtual environment hasn’t stopped our hardworking Wilcox High School CTE Business Experience (formerly known as DECA) students from honing their skills.

We are proud to share that Jonathan Chang, Pratinav Sharma, Shaunak Kale, and Shivaansh Kapoor won the state championship at the Personal Finance Challenge. This win qualified the team to enter a virtual national semi-final round — usually held at the University of Nebraska. Due to the fact that this year the event was held virtually, the rules changed and the Personal Finance Challenge National Championship added an additional round to narrow the competitors down to 12 teams. Each of the 50 teams logged in and took a personal finance multiple-choice test consisting of 45 questions in 45 minutes. The top 12 scores, including our very own Wilcox team, then advanced to the national final. 

Starting with a fresh slate, the teams were next broken into three groups of four teams and given two hours to create a 15-minute presentation analyzing a case study and provide recommendations to the family in the case study. The judges then had a five-minute question and answer period where they could interact with the students. The criteria was broken down into 80% personal finance knowledge, 10% teamwork, and 10% communication skills and appearance. 

Much to their delight, when the team logged back in after the break, they found out that they won their pool and would be guaranteed, at the very least, third place in the country. Teams then went on to do the same exact presentation they had created earlier in the day, but this time in front of different judges who would determine the national champions. Third place went to Minnesota, second place to Indiana, and out of the 1,902 teams who entered the tournament, the first place was awarded to California — go Wilcox Chargers! The students won $8,000 and an opportunity to apply for a $10,000 scholarship where only students that have placed in one of the Voya's events, the competition sponsor, can apply.

In addition, congratulations go out to team Gnome — Shaunak Kale, Shivaansh Kapoor, Smrithi Suresh, and Rahul Ganesh — who won this year’s Western Regionals for the Diamond Challenge, a global high school entrepreneurship competition. With this win under their belt, students and teacher Tony Raffetto took the winning idea about early wildfire detection systems to the next stage in the Diamond Challenge, held virtually this year. Unfortunately, they didn’t place in the competition, but we are proud of their hard work and dedication.