Wildcat Chronicle

Personal finance challenge team heads to nationals after winning first place at state

From+left+to+right+seniors+Emily+Pietura%2C+Connor+Thompson%2C+Jeremy+Belingon%2C+and+Michael+Sawicki+competed+for+the+Personal+finance+challenge+on+April+25.+
From left to right seniors Emily Pietura, Connor Thompson, Jeremy Belingon, and Michael Sawicki competed for the Personal finance challenge on April 25.

From left to right seniors Emily Pietura, Connor Thompson, Jeremy Belingon, and Michael Sawicki competed for the Personal finance challenge on April 25.

Photo by Candace Fikis

Photo by Candace Fikis

From left to right seniors Emily Pietura, Connor Thompson, Jeremy Belingon, and Michael Sawicki competed for the Personal finance challenge on April 25.

By Leslie Najera-Rivas, Reporter

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After winning first place at the state competition, the personal finance challenge team is preparing for nationals on May 10 and 11.

Participating students are seniors Jeremy Belingon, Emily Pietura, Connor Thompson, and Michael Sawicki.

The state competition was based on financial literacy and decision making. Each student took two tests on financial and consumer subjects like insurance solving.

“All of those components were graded and we ended up in a tie for second place (after the tests taken which ended up two teams competing at the quiz bowl),” Belingon said.

Both West Chicago and Naperville Central ended up going against each other in the quiz bowl.

A quiz bowl is where contestants are asked questions and are required to buzz in if they know the answer.

“We were leading almost the whole game and we ended up beating Naperville Central,” Belingon said.

The team ended up with a score of 12-2 against Naperville Central.

The students were given practice material by economics teacher Candance Fikis.

“Fikis has a lot of resources from past years to prepare us, she did an awesome job at it,” Sawicki said. “She also doesn’t just give us the material but also educates us on it.”

Over 550 teams competed, but only 10 schools qualified for nationals.

This is the second time Belingon and Sawicki took first place but they were still surprised with the results.

“We had to come in confident and we knew that we prepared, but we didn’t come in expecting (to win), but I think that we earned it,” Sawicki said.

Although the team has done well in the past, the team was nervous.

“I was worried that we weren’t as prepared as other teams coming into this because we heard there was a team that scored way higher than us during qualifying,” Belingon said.

The students are now preparing for nationals at the University of Nebraska.

“I am a little nervous to represent Illinois and compete on a national level,” Belingon said. “I am proud and excited to have this opportunity.”

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Personal finance challenge team heads to nationals after winning first place at state