Charlotte Catholic High School Foundation and Teacher Spotlight

What led you to sponsor students/classrooms at Charlotte Catholic High School?

Our foundation strives to enrich the spiritual, academic, and cultural development of our students and this project gives them that.  We felt that this project has a practical application for students to learn more about financial planning and budgeting using a real-world simulation. 

Secondly, based on parent and teacher feedback, we learned that The Budget Challenge is the ideal playground for students to learn how to manage money. The simulation engages students to 'learn by doing', so 'rookie' mistakes are corrected by educators and parents rather than punished with poor credit and costly fees.

What impact has your sponsorship had on your organization?

For the past 4 years students have been able to access this tool in the Economics classroom.  When we learned that a lead sponsor had decided not to continue their support, we wanted to step in to help keep The Budget Challenge at Charlotte Catholic since it has proven successful year over year. 

Students and alumni still talk about their experiences and how it has helped them build financial awareness.

What is your main objective as a sponsor?

The CCHS Foundation's vision is to see that our high school reaches its full potential as an educational and spiritual leader in Charlotte and the Carolinas.

We also had the opportunity to speak with Anne Runkle, an Economics and Honor Economics teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School in Charlotte, NC who has been teaching Budget Challenge for six years. She shared her experience and knowledge of implementing Budget Challenge into the classroom. 

How has Budget Challenge inspired your approach in the classroom?

As a former Financial Executive, the Budget Challenge has been incorporated into my economics curriculum as a “real-time” tool to introduce students to the financial responsibilities that will come their way in the future.  There is nothing that is more satisfying for a teacher than to teach things that are relevant!

 How has Budget Challenge inspired your students in the classroom?

The Budget Challenge has been quite a positive catalyst in my economics classroom!  Not all students "excel" in economic concepts, but when you start to talk about their "money" it really gets their attention! It inspires healthy competition, collaboration among the students and opens many opportunities for exploration of a variety of financial topics.

What difference do you see in your students when engaging in an interactive simulation such as Budget Challenge?

High level engagement, energy, active questions

What is the best advice you can give a new teacher when implementing a Budget Challenge in the classroom?

The best advice I can give a new teacher starting the simulation is to take the time in the planning stages of the simulation, make it a requirement for the students to prepare a budget, walk through paying a bill, and then let them fly “on their own”!  I also make a duplicate of the budget template and require the students to keep a check register.  Intermittently during the simulation, I have Budget Challenge “days” to check in with students and provide assistance where needed.  I also have the students write a reflection after the simulation to review their behavior and learning outcomes.

What do you think is the most important takeaway from the simulation?

The most important take away students get from the simulation is that while we as individuals go on vacation, get sick, occasionally experience technological glitches, our financial commitments do not!