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Game of LIFE Teaches High School Students about Budgeting, Finances

October 14, 2021

life

Parma City School District high school students got a sneak peek of real-life finances with the Game of LIFE event. 

Eighth-grade students in high school readiness classes and tenth- and eleventh-grade students in college and career readiness classes at all three high schools participated in a budgeting activity similar to the board game, Game of LIFE.

Hosted by Kristen Plageman, PCSD Director of Strategic Initiatives, and Chuck Caldwell, Administrative Specialist for Workforce Development, the activity had students select a career, earn a monthly paycheck, select a house, select a car, and learn about various expenses they should expect such as taxes, healthcare, utilities, and insurance.

The goal was to make wise choices and stay within a budget to hopefully have money left over at the end of the month. 

“In the past, kids did a budgeting activity, but we wanted to bring it to life and have some interactions and a more realistic approach to it,” Caldwell explained. “We think exposing students to career exploration and financial literacy is paramount to future success. Career exploration coupled with financial literacy will equip our students with the skills and knowledge to make educated decisions and effectively manage their financial futures.”

About 550 students participated in this activity this quarter, with an estimated 1,600 students in total experiencing this event this school year.

“I think it is important for students to start thinking about budgeting, career exploration, higher education, and the expenses associated with it,” Caldwell shared. “Creating students with financial literacy is extremely important, and we want kids to understand the choices they make now can affect their lives well into adulthood.”

Some students were shocked by how much they made in their chosen career compared to how much things cost. There were other students who already had budgeting experiences and are currently saving for their future.

“I think the biggest takeaway from participating in the Game of LIFE is students got to choose a career pathway that is of interest to them,” he expressed. “They learned realistically what kind of lifestyle they can live based on the level of education and career path they chose. I think it was an eye-opening experience for some students to learn about all the costs associated with being an adult and how expensive things can be in correlation to the amount of money they make.” 

The feedback from students was very positive, with many students expressing this activity got them thinking about how to save money and found it helpful to have a chance to learn about expenses they will incur after high school.

One student wrote, “The ‘Game of LIFE’ made me think about what I actually should be spending my money on and how important it is to save your money.”

Another student expressed, “It did make me think differently, and it made me think that there are many responsibilities of being an adult.”