WINDHAM, Conn. (WTNH) – Making big changes and taking control of their future. Students in Willimantic are learning about spending federal dollars and meeting very important deadlines.

It’s a lot of money and the people looking to spend it are in a school classroom.

“We talked about a greenhouse, we talked about a diversity fair,” said Resia Baran, a senior at Windham High School.

The class leaders of Windham High School were pitching proposals to spend $20,000 coming to them. It’s all part of the Voice for Change project where state dollars are awarded to 80 schools around the state. It’s up to students to propose the best way to spend it.

“My favorite right now is the greenhouse proposal. I think it could be a great opportunity for students. I think teaching what’s healthy, what’s not, it could really benefit our community,” said Justice Rivera, a senior.

Pitching, proposing, and eventually a vote by the full student body to vote on how to spend the money. It’s just one real-life practical skill getting students involved at Windham High School.

These days, the hallways are used for much for than just stuffing lockers and passing from classroom to classroom. It’s a speedway for prizes. The weekly FAFSA challenge features trivia questions and prizes for the winners to get the students excited about meeting the FAFSA deadline, which is federal dollars that will help pay for college.

“I just submitted my college apps and I am submitting my FAFSA this weekend. It’s a chaotic process, but I’m getting it done,” Baran said.

“We’ve already seen an increase compared to this time last year. The state’s goal is to have a five percent increase over last year and we intend to go way beyond that,” said Pamela Cavanagh, principal at Windham High School.

Keeping students accountable, engaged, voting, competing, and learning skills to take with them into the real world.