The “trip” was made possible through a partnership with Junior Achievement and Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.
Inside the school’s gymnasium, more than a dozen stations were set up focused on life’s responsibilities: real-estate, banking, car dealerships, grocery stores, utility companies, insurance, etc. At each of the stations, students were given a variety of options to chose.
For example, in the transportation booth, students could chose from purchasing a bus pass, economical efficient sedan to a Hummer. When buying groceries and clothing, students could opt for generic brands over name brands.
Prior to the exercise, students were given occupations, salaries and marital status. Some were married, some were not. Some had children, some did not. And, some were single parents.
During the exercise, eighth-grade student Zak Dunn went “bankrupt” after spending his salary on a Hummer, a 3-bedroom home and a few frivolous expenses. Dunn was given the career of a dental hygienist who made $30,000 annually, married with one child. After consulting with Sherry Crye, director of workforce development for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, Dunn traded in his Hummer for a more affordable sedan, traded his 3-bedroom home for a 2-bedroom home and returned frivolous purchases.
“This is a great learning exercise for these students. It’s a real-eye opener to understand life’s situations and responsibilities. They have to use their salaries the best they can to make sure they have a place to live, have transportation, eat, take care of their children, all of the responsibilities in real-life,” said Cheryl Hysinger, president of Junior Achievement.
Area businesses including BB&T, Cleveland State Community College, Bowater Employees Credit Union, Cleveland Utilities and Stan Pegram Embroidered and Screen participated in the exercise.
“This age is great age to talk to your children about finances. Parents need to expose their kids to what financial responsibility is. You don’t want to shelter them because it could really hinder him/her in the future,” said Kim Gunter, vice president of marketing at Bowater Employees Credit Union.
For more information about the program, call LFMS at 478-8821 or log on to the Cleveland Junior Achievement web site at www.clevelandtn.ja.org.