TROY — Nearly 400 Van Cleve sixth-graders received hands-on preparation for the real world during “Kids at College Day” at Edison State Community College in Piqua.
This marks the 12th consecutive year Van Cleve students have engaged in the program, which is sponsored by a grant from The Troy Foundation, as well as donations from various local business partners and Edison staff.
According to Edison enrollment manager Stacey Bean, the goal is for each participating student “to learn about college and career awareness early.”
“College credit plus is available to students in seventh grade by state law,” said Van Cleve counselor Jolynn Scalice. “With this program, we’re starting to expose them to things as early as possible, so they’re aware of all the opportunities they have.”
Prior to the trip to Edison, financial literacy sessions are held at Van Cleve that assign each student a career with varying incomes, and are led through basic financial responsibility exercises, such as balancing a checkbook or paying a bill.
“We’ve talked about things like savings, checking accounts, and job choices, and how what you’re doing at the sixth grade level effects seventh and eighth grade, when you graduate, and when you’re an adult,” Scalice said.
At Edison, sixth graders are led through a financial simulation process, in which they must stretch their monthly income across house and auto payments, child care, cell phone, TV, and internet bills, grocery shopping, and other expenses.
“In the simulation, they’re learning what all of their money goes toward in a monthly income,” Bean said. “If they find they’re stretched too thin, they can visit the financial advisor table, who will show them some ways to free up money, such as having a different car or cell phone plan. It’s a real-life version of ‘The Game of Life,’ basically.”
“The big takeaway is that kids learn money sense, and how it’s applicable to the real world,” said Van Cleve science teacher Nathan Silknitter. “They learn to appreciate the value of money. I enjoy seeing the kids smile and engaged in their learning this way.”
“Kids who leave this exercise will often say things like, ‘I can’t believe Mom does all that!’” Bean said. “They suddenly realize how expensive things are by doing this, so it’s really cool to see the lessons they take away.”
In addition to the final simulation, each sixth grader shifted through stations with Edison faculty throughout campus, engaging in hands-on activities involving engineering, nursing, physical therapy, biology, chemistry, mathematics, industrial technology, and more. Every sixth grader attended two of the sessions, as well as a career choices presentation with Edison advisors in the school theater.
“The event couldn’t take place without our community volunteers that are here,” Bean said. “We have over 60 adult volunteers today, between our Edison State faculty, the Troy City schools staff, and partners from the Troy and Piqua community. This event is a really awesome experience for our kids, and our volunteers make it possible.”