Chilhowee Middle Students -On My Own

Posted 7/5/18

UT/TSU Extension – Polk County

6042 HWY 411

P.O. Box 189

Benton, TN 37307-0189

Phone: (423)338-4503

Fax: (423)338-4502

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Chilhowee Middle Students -On My Own


The On My Own program is a University of Tennessee Extension program that is hands-on, real-life simulation that gives young people the opportunity to experience their futures in a fun and exciting way. The program has been held recently with eighth-grade students at Chilhowee Middle School. 

During the simulation, participants assume they are 26 years old, are the primary or sole support of the household, and are encouraged to make healthy and wise lifestyle choices similar to those adults face on a daily basis. Transportation, utilities, food, housing, child care, and recreation are a few of the stations students visit to make purchases to meet their monthly needs. Before the simulation, the students receive instruction on careers lifestyles and costs, bank accounts and reconciliation and assess their personal money habits.

The financial education simulation reaches over 30,000 students annually across Tennessee. Students participating in the On My Own program report feeling they need a good education and plan to obtain more education after high school. Over 80 percent of the students report that through completing this simulation they discover how much money it really takes to get by as well as having a better understanding of their parents concern about money. Through the On My Own program, students gain an understanding of financial concepts as well as the relationship income has to lifestyle, education, and family size.

Post surveys comments from students include: “Sometimes you can’t always get what you want, because it can be too expensive,” “How expensive raising a family is,” “Being an adult is hard,” “How an education will affect the kind of job I get,” and “When you have a family you need to learn to budget.”
Donna Calhoun, UT Extension agent in Polk County, facilitated the program at Chilhowee School with assistance from fellow UT Extension Agent, Greg Paxton and Tennessee State University Extension Agent Kelley Frady.

The Polk County Extension staff appreciates the cooperation from Chilhowee Middle School principal Connie Dunn as well as teacher Jason Bramlett in having this educational program. Another thank you goes to the many volunteers who make this event possible, noted Calhoun.

This year, volunteers were Paula Armstong, Sandra Gilder, Candy Hatcher, Gloria Risko, Carol Kamm, Halen Housley, Nan Cross, Jim Ledford, Bill Risko, Jeff Pippin and Chris Newton.
For information about this program or any UT/TSU program in Polk County please contact the UT/TSU Extension office at 423-338-4503 or visit the website at


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