Warriors win finance competition

Published 10:38 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A team of four students from Nansemond River High School won first place in the Personal Finance Division of the 2018 Governor’s Challenge Champions in Economics and Personal Finance.

The Virginia Counsel of Economic Education hosts the three separate pieces of the competition — lower level economics, upper level economics and personal finance.

Ryan Abraham, Mackenzie West, Oliver Rice and Lauren Ratkovich were a part of the winning team, and Jason Bartholomew was the teacher.


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Bartholomew teaches three finance classes and two accounting classes at Nansemond River. It’s a requirement in Virginia to take one economics or personal finance class to graduate from high school.

“The class has been very important,” said Rice. “We can relate it our daily lives.”

“Right now, personal finance has helped me prepare for my future,” said Abraham. “I know how to plan out and make a budget.”

The first round of the competition was just a test that the teams have to submit, and Bartholomew’s class ranked first in the region. Their team, along with 12 others, was given a hypothetical personal finance situation to analyze.

The situation included a family that wanted to have another child, buy a house and still save for retirement but had debt issues. After analyzing the situation, the team had to write a 10-page report advising the family on what to do.

“I think we were all pretty nervous as we went through the presentations, but we were able to keep each other calm,” said West.

The next two rounds of the competition took place in Richmond, and the team had to present its solution to two different sets of judges. After presenting to almost 200 people, Nansemond River’s team won the competition.

“I told someone that that moment was easily in my top five moments in my professional career,” said Bartholomew. “It was a highlight moment.”

Bartholomew was happy to see his students come home with a win, but he also believes that this is an important skill to have before leaving school.

“I think what we teach in finance absolutely gives them a competitive advantage and a head start in life,” Bartholomew said. “Finance matters from the minute they graduate and get a job or start raking in student loans.”

Debt can cripple someone’s future, according to Bartholomew, and taking on school loans can be the cause of the debt.

“We tell them they have to get a degree and they will get a degree at literally any cost,” Bartholomew said.

Since winning the competition, the team was invited to the national competition in Lincoln, Neb., on May 11. Most of the expenses have already been covered, but about $1,500 of the airfare still needs to be covered by sponsors.

Those who want to help with the costs can contact Bartholomew at jasonbartholomew@spsk12.net.