BATTLE CREEK, MI (December 1, 2014) - On Wednesday, November 19, students left the classroom for a visit to “Mad City” for a hands-on budget challenge. The first “Mad City Money” venture was a huge success, as participants got a taste of budgeting in a high-pressure, simulated real-world setting.
Not knowing what to expect, students from the Gull Lake Gateway Academy, High School and Parent Partnership Program participated in the fast-paced, budgeting venture. Students were given packets that described their financial challenges before moving on to various booths, fast-checking their existing budgets to purchase homes, cars, and other commodities for life’s challenges.
Looking somewhat overwhelmed, 6th grade student Trevor Handler explained, “Spending money is hard work.” Senior Austin Davis commented, “I didn’t know living ‘high on the hog’ with a low budget, while having a kid is so expensive. My kid keeps growing and needing new things, and I want to keep my truck.” (The child was assigned to Austin as part of his “inherited” family at the start of the session).
As the “Fickle Finger of Fate” (Realtor Dick Boris) roamed the room, Senior Zach Sage was given a new bill of $200 for a payment for his sick grandma. Along with having a five-month old child at home, he still thought he might “make budget,” especially if he helped tow his friend’s truck when it broke down. Luckily, Zach received a check from “Fate” and planned to spend that money boosting his $10 per month clothing budget, while trying to convince his “wife” to reduce her hair styling costs.
This pilot program was a successful, hands-on learning experience for both staff and students and will be repeated and expanded in the future.