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Posted on Feb 12, 2015

It’s off to the working world for Monument fifth-graders

More than 200 fifth-graders from Monument Elementary School had the chance last week to experience real-life challenges, from balancing a checkbook to running a company, in Junior Achievement’s mini-city simulation called BizTown.

Students apply for and are assigned jobs prior to traveling to BizTown, which is in Yakima. BizTown features 20 mini-businesses, each sponsored by a professional company. Businesses range from a credit union and insurance company to a TV station and the Seattle Mariners.

“It’s cool because those are real-life jobs at real-life companies,” student Emily Wurl said.

“It is great to let the students try out the jobs that they might not have considered before,” teacher Kadie Rang said.
While in their simulated job, students tackle several skills they will need as adults.

“Students really understand the responsibilities of managing money,” Rang said. “They have to balance their checkbooks, make deposits, set up a savings account and decide how to spend their money. They also all have jobs and responsibilities in their businesses. They learn to work through problems, how to prioritize their work, how to stay organized, and work with customers.”

And it wasn’t easy, said Daisy Medina.

“It was hard to write out all the checks, take care of all of the employees and sign their paychecks,” said Medina, a CEO for the day. “But it was pretty fun to get a paycheck.”

“You had to know where your money was and keep track of it,” added classmate Ana Sofia Trujillo.

The simulation is designed to help students learn about topics such as communities, the economy, free enterprise, interest, taxes, business management, cost, pricing, advertising, ethics and philanthropy.

This was the fourth time Monument students have attended BizTown. The trip was paid for by money raised at a fall fundraiser.

Rang said she hopes students learn what it takes to be a responsible citizen.

“They have practice,” she said. “Now it won’t all be so new to them when it comes time for them to open up a checking account or apply for jobs.”

The experience also gave her students a new perspective.

“I appreciate that I’m not an adult yet and have to do all of that, Medina said.

“We need to thank our parents,” Wurl agreed. “They have difficult jobs.”

The experience opened Gudino’s eyes to new possibilities. After her experience as a CFO for a day, she’s thinking about a future in finance.

“I think I’d like to work at a bank,” Gudino said. “I like working with money and using math.”


— By Rebecca Young, QVPR contributor

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