Sophomores experience real life situations in OSU Extension’s Real Money, Real World simulation

| November 21, 2019

COSHOCTON – Sophomores at Coshocton High School experienced real-life situations during OSU Extension’s Real Money, Real World simulation during the week of Nov. 18. On Thursday, Nov. 21, students were able to visit different stations set up in the gymnasium where they had to buy a home, car, insurance, pay utility bills, pay for childcare, buy groceries, and many other things.

“Our objective is that they understand the factors that are related to potential income,” said Emily Marrison, family and consumer science educator at OSU Extension. “There’s the importance of education, they need to do something they love doing, but in doing so, if they have a lower income, they may have tough choices. The income you make as an adult may affect your choices.”

Real Money, Real World replaced the sophomore’s government classes for that week. For four days, they were in the classroom choosing a job, establishing a salary, and creating a budget. On Thursday, that all culminated into paying the bills and some of the students received a reality check.

Community members were advisors at each station that explained to the students their options when purchasing a home, a car, insurance, or financing at the bank.

“I think it’s important for the kids to see how the community cares how they manage their money because it impacts the community when they manage their money well,” said Marrison.

Art Saylor from SWS Solutions was at a financial advice station where students came when they were running low on money to ask what they could do to save more money.

“I just point them in a direction they need to go, but it’s a reality check for them,” said Saylor. “This is fun, but it’s also a reality check.”

One station for the students was a game of chance. It involved choosing a card and living with that choice, whether you received money as a gift from someone, or had a car accident and had to pay more money.

“This is the best one because if they have cash or not, you take a chance,” said Ann Leppla. “They’re really things that could happen to you in real life. The favorite one is the one where your Aunt Ethel dies and leaves you $3,000. If they have money at the end, they come back here because they like to play the game.”

However, the biggest surprise of the day was how much childcare costs.

“Children are expensive,” said Kennedy Kittell, sophomore at CHS. “Actually, everything is expensive.”

Olivia Blust, sophomore at CHS, agreed.

“I was surprised by how much childcare was,” she said. “But I learned a lot from it.”

Marrison said that childcare expense is the biggest surprise for most students.

“We’ve been doing this for six years, and when it’s all over, I always ask them what was the most surprising to them, and almost all of them say the cost of childcare,” said Marrison.

Michelle Turner-Ganz volunteered at the childcare station and said that it is a shock to most students how much childcare costs.

“I think it’s been a real eye-opener,” she said. “Some kids are funny, and they say they’re not having kids for a long time, but I think this whole exercise makes them experience things in a whole new way. When Emily spoke to us about this project, I thought it was a great idea for the kids.”

This was John Leppla’s first year volunteering for the program.

“It’s fun,” he said. “The kids are eager, and they are really starting to think. It’s tough, though. They have to balance everything out at the end.”

Students had 40 minutes to complete their worksheet and visit each station. At the end, some were able to reflect a little on what they had learned.

“Utilities was a little more expensive than I thought it would be,” said Joe Abel. “Get a good job so you can pay your bills.”

Keeley Murray said she also learned a lot through the simulation.

“I learned how not to spend too much on something you don’t need,” she said. “It (the program) was very helpful.”

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I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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