Success in tackling financial costs of daily living has earned a $20,000 scholarship for a Kendall high school student.
“No, my folks won’t let me run their budget yet,” laughed Brian Huici, 18, a student at Southwest Miami High School who was announced on Jan. 24 as one of 67 winners in a nationwide H&R Block “Budget Challenge” competition.
His interest in managing personal finances began “with trying to see how best we could meet expenses at our own home,” he explained. “So I decided to try to get into Southwest High’s Academy of Finance, a magnet program that concentrates on technologies to solve problems involving finances.”
Under direction of Doristine Williams, Southwest Miami High Magnet program is now in its tenth year, preparing students for careers in the financial services industry.
In his senior year, Brian began the H&R Block simulated daily budgeting program, one of 8,000 students in the November cycle of $3 billion rewarding high school students “mastering real-world budgeting and personal finance decision-making.”
Students individually take on the role of a recent college graduate, gainfully employed and equipped with a regular paycheck to manage a checking account and a 401(k) savings account on a day-to-day basis.
They learn income and asset management strategies to manage expenses that best create savings and retirement funding while still paying taxes. Scholarship winners are chosen on best overall scores against fellow-students, based on earning points in different categories leading to an overall ranking.
“I felt that the Budget Challenge would be just the thing to drive the financial lesson home,” said Brian’s teacher, Yoelin Cabrera-Fernandez.
“From Day One, Brian was eager to win and diligent at the task. His savvyness earned him a welldeserved scholarship and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Along with his academy training, Brian also credits a summer internship with Miami-Dade County’s Office of Management and Budget, a forerunner of his success in the national scholarship competition.
“It began by setting up an ACH (Automatic Clearing House) that teaches the basics of direct deposits and how you can go paperless today, managing your money on the computer,” he said. “That really helped me with the competitive program.”
With the first step into college-level financial training ensured, Brian plans to enter FIU after graduation, intent on studying computer science. The Huici flair for math also is reflected in Brian’s younger brother, Brandon, 16, a student at TERRA Environmental Research Institute in Kendall, who is majoring in mathematics and physics.
Other than playing basketball and “hanging out” with fellow students, Brian said his primary interest remains centered on developing skills that manage daily living expenses, adding, “It’s a basic part of managing your life.”
For more information on the H&R Block program, visit hrbds.org.