Rebecca Guillen, Sharyland High School Senior, Received a $500 Award as a National Honorable Mention Winner in the Next Gen Personal Finance Essay Contest. She was one of only 2 students from the state of Texas to receive this honor. Only 150 students nationally earned the monetary award. Rebecca wrote an essay after playing the game PAYBACK, Webby Award for Best Social Impact Game. The essay focused on the following prompt: How could you use the online game, PAYBACK, to have a conversation with your parent/guardian about paying for college?

Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF), a non-profit, is committed to ensuring that ALL students leave high school with the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly complex financial world. The essay contest attracted over 500 submissions from all fifty states. Classroom teachers nominated the best student essay. NGPF staff then reviewed the essays, judging them based on the following criteria: Indicates an understanding of key concepts learned by playing the game PAYBACK. Addresses concerns their parents/guardians may have about this sensitive topic. Takes a creative approach to engaging parents/ guardians in a conversation about college.

Rebecca is a student in Amanda Medina’s class. Mrs. Medina, CTE teacher, also won $200 for her classroom. Rebecca has been involved in multiple sports including track, soccer, and cross country. She participated in Cross Country all four years of high school. Additionally, she was President of Skills USA her junior year. When she was asked about participating in the essay contest, she said, “My teacher Mrs. Medina really encouraged me to participate. She noticed my study habits in her class and thought I would be a good candidate for this competition.”

Rebecca Guillen plans to attend the University of Texas RGV after graduating. She is going to pursue a career in Business & Marketing.