CHESTERTOWN — Kent County Middle School brought the classic board game the Game of LIFE to life for eighth graders, giving them a lesson about the real responsibilities of being an adult.
On Thursday, May 18, the morning started for the eighth graders in the gym, where teacher specialist Cheryl Fracassi explained just what was in store in the game.
Tables were set up around the gym, each one a different station for students tying into the morning's overarching lesson in financial literacy.
Fracassi said she started planning the Game of LIFE earlier this year after having come across another school system that held a similar activity.
"As part of my Managing Your Future class, the students discuss financial literacy including costs of post-secondary education, budgeting and overall costs of everyday life," Fracassi said. "I thought it was important to give our students an opportunity to take that learning to the next level and apply it in a real-world type of experience."
The tables were manned by middle school staff and volunteers from local businesses and organizations.
Each table was a different financial responsibility: utility bills, rent or mortgage, student loans, vacation planning and so on.
Students were given a budget and through the course of the game had to make it work based on the financial obligations they accrued.
Could they still afford internet while having three children, a high mortgage and excessive credit card debt?
Staff members from Kent County Public Schools' administrative office team also were on hand to help with the program.
Bryn Kibler, a benefits specialist in the Human Resources office, led the group stationed at the health insurance table.
"I had such a great time participating in this event," Kibler said. "The students really seemed to enjoy it, but also took it seriously and worked very hard to balance their budgets during the game."
Kibler said the inclusion of community volunteers, like a representative from Delmarva Power at the table for utility bills, made the game seem all the more real.
"I think it was a fantastic idea to use this fun game to teach very important life skills," Kibler said.
Also helping out were Aundra Anderson, coordinator of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education's Next Generation Scholars program at Kent County High School, and some of her students.
"The Next Generation Scholars Leaders helped the eighth-grade participants make selections at booths and assisted with end-of-event calculations to determine each student's monthly budget," Anderson said. "They also assisted with the creation and preparation of materials used at each booth for the event and with event clean-up."