11th-grader, Isabella Rios, known to her friends and family as “Bella”, is thrilled to be the 2020-2021 recipient of the PA Distance Financial Literacy Scholarship.
Last year, PA Distance received a $10,000 grant from the non-profit financial education-driven organization, Next Gen Personal Finance. The awarded grant comes with the requirement that a Financial Literacy course will be added as a graduation requirement for high school students, now making PA Distance a “Gold Standard School”.
As part of the grant, PA Distance was able to award a $500 scholarship to a Financial Literacy student who completes a project based on a hypothetical scenario involving a plan for debt consolidation and relief. This year’s recipient, Isabella, is able to defer costs involved in pursuing a postsecondary school or opportunity after she graduates next year.
“PA Distance and the Financial Literacy Committee are so excited to award our first scholarship to Bella!” Financial Literacy teacher, Mrs. DeRoner said.
“I had to explain and make a plan to get our hypothetical subject out of debt,” Isabella said. “I used the skills I learned in our Financial Literacy class to create the best plan to do that.”
“My family thought it would be a good idea to take Financial Literacy and I wanted to learn skills to benefit and prepare me for the future,” she explained. “We learned the importance of starting a savings account, how interest works, how to do your taxes, what a 401k is, how to get a loan for a car or for college, and so much more.”
“I've had the pleasure of having Bella in my classes and know she will accomplish great things. The scoring team rated her Debt Relief plan the highest based on her detailed rationale, logical recommendations, and realistic timeline,” Mrs. DeRoner said.
“Her understanding of financial concepts needed to design the plan was exemplary!”
“PA Distance is excited to offer a Financial Literacy scholarship to more students next year,” Mrs. DeRoner added. “We are planning to expand the scholarship since the course becomes a graduation requirement so there may be multiple recipients next year!”
Looking back on her time at PA Distance, Isabella notes that she feels at home. She also explains that the classes, and the teachers who teach them, are there to meet the needs of the students and not the other way around.
“To me, PA Distance feels like a family more so than a school,” she said. “I've been here since 7th-grade and I like the learning style. We can collaborate with our school counselor to make our schedule work for us.”
“It’s really tailored and molded to fit you as a student,” she said. “Instead of me, as a student, trying to fit into their mold.”
Isabella also had and will continue to have, the chance to take a lot of fun elective classes like art and music. She is also a member of the Core Four After-School Club where she, and her classmates, help promote the school's “core” values.
Now that she is done with her 11th-grade year, Isabella is looking forward to graduating and attending college. She is interested in going to Chatham University after she graduates from PA Distance with a degree in Environmental Science. She wants to pursue being an environmental scientist and would love to work in a laboratory someday.
“I would like to thank the school for giving me the opportunity to earn this scholarship and for teaching me and preparing me for my future,” she said. “Also, a big thank you to Mrs. DeRoner for giving me the tools that I needed for this project and for my life down the road.”