Castaic High School student Yra Clamico was one out of two students who won a $2,500 scholarship for their participation in the 7th annual Payback Challenge presented by Next Gen Personal Finance.
NGPF’s annual Payback challenge gives high school students across the country a chance to win a $2,500 scholarship for their educational pursuits while developing an understanding of what college life will be like.
Clamico was introduced to this program in his personal finance class by his teacher Anna McAfee early in the semester.
Clamico participates in numerous extracurriculars and also has a part time job. He is on the varsity swim team, has a job with the Los Angeles County as a lifeguard, takes various AP courses and a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Club where he is focusing on “spreading my culture and ethnicity to others around the community,” he said during a podcast interview with NGPF host Tim Ranzetta. Clamico also discussed his experience with the Payback challenge and the valuable information he gained.
“While I was playing the game I learned a lot about college and college loans. I wasn’t really familiar at the time about it,” said Clamico.”It taught me in a nice visually appealing way how to save my money and the work-life balance, and how I can save money and while also staying happy.”
Clamico won the scholarship by submitting a short essay where he wrote a letter to his future self with advice and a set of rules he should follow to succeed in his college career and also accomplish his goals.
During the process, students learned how much textbooks could cost, options between living on and off campus, meal plans and other expenses that individuals may not know about. The goal was to inform and educate the students who participated how to make conscious financial decisions to ensure they would have a successful educational experience without breaking their bank accounts.
“I think the hardest part was to figure out whether I wanted to work over the summers, instead of learning and educating myself more about the major I want to go to. Because there’s really a trade-off, like you said, on how you could save money or you could pursue your education even more. But I really think that working over the summer, at least for the earlier years of your college, can help you a lot. That’s why I learned from Payback,” said Clamico.