NGPF Podcast: How the Arcade Game PAYBACK prepared me for college: Reflections from 5 of the National Winners of the NGPF PAYBACK Challenge Essay Contest

Jan 17, 2020
Parent Conversations, Podcasts, Contest Previous

In this NGPF podcast two part series, you will hear from 11 inspiring high schoolers from across the U.S. who were the national winners of the PAYBACK Challenge essay contest. Each will receive $5,000 towards their educational expenses. Each shared what they learned from paying PAYBACK, how it has impacted their college plans and the importance of personal finance in their lives. Student voice matters and these students certainly providing convincing evidence of the benefit of personal finance coursework. 

Here's Part 1 where you will hear from 5 of our National Winners. Enjoy! 

  • 0:00~1:32 Introduction
  • 1:32~8:33 Asher Spain of James I O'Neill High School (Highland Falls, New York)
  • 8:33~13:28 Leslie Henriquez of Central Falls High School (Central Falls, Rhode Island)
  • 13:28~17:17 Rayele Malone of Cleveland School of Science and Medicine (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • 17:17~17:40 A word from NGPF
  • 17:40~23:35 Virginia Girling of Jackson Hole High School (Jackson Hole, Wyoming)
  • 23:35~29:27 Vivian Hua of Mustang High School (Mustang, Oklahoma)
  • 29:27~30:28 Conclusion


Check out our Arcade Game, PAYBACK, and see if you can make it to graduation day without breaking the bank (and carrying too much student debt)!


About the Authors

Ren Makino

Ren has been working part-time at NGPF since 2014, interning through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, after graduating from college in 2020, he joined the team to work full time with a focus on teacher onboarding. He is also the editor of the NGPF podcast and makes sure it is accessible to teachers on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play Music. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world and try out new brewing methods, even though personal finance gurus tend to caution against buying a cup of joe.

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.