Pharos-Tribune

Local News

April 10, 2014

Columbia eighth-graders get dose of reality

Event gives Columbia middle schoolers a glimpse of adulthood

(Continued)

At the end of the line was a luxuries table, where if they had any money left, students could simulate the purchase of items like cellular phones, mp3 players, video rentals, dining out and even a Caribbean cruise.

Occasionally a whistle would blast across the gym, drawing everyone’s attention to the “Life’s Unexpected” table, where students would draw from a jar of situations like divorce settlements or losing a job. If they were unfortunate enough to draw a circumstance that involved them getting in trouble with the law, the whistle would sound and faculty members would try to hide their smiles as they scolded the student while a member of the Cass County Sheriff’s Department made their way over to issue a reprimand.

Because not all of life’s unexpected moments are bad, sometimes a student would find themselves with a new pet, like Gage Benish, or the winner of a cash prize, like Larissa Villa.

Lauren Szalay, a pediatric therapist for the morning making $59,000 a year with three kids, said her strategy going into the activity was to stray from the more expensive items.

“My children don’t need a lot of electronics,” she said, adding that she felt she could relate to her parents a little more after the activity.

“It shows how expensive things can be,” she said of the experience.

• Reach Mitchell Kirk at mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5130

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