By Doc Anderson
Seniors from Mount Pleasant High School put their budgeting skills to the test at the Mad City reality simulator, sponsored by East Texas Credit Union.
The reality simulator places students in a simulated profession with a salary, bills and other expenses. Students attend financial literacy classes in between their simulations. The goal of the simulator is to introduce budgeting to students before they enter the workforce. Jackie Scoggins, teacher of career and academic planning at Mount Pleasant High School, said the simulator opens the students’ eyes to the cost of living on their own.
“This is good for them because we teach a lot of life skills. This [simulator] gives them a life; now they have to budget,” Scoggins said.
This is the first time in the event’s history high school seniors were invited to participate. The Mad City simulator was created 3 years ago for Northeast Texas Community College students. Linda Forest, Financial literacy coach at NTCC, said the simulator is held 3 times a year and targets 3 different categories of students.
“Typically, I’ll do a fall and I’ll do a summer Mad City. The fall is for our traditional students that are here on campus and the summer is for the Work4college students,” Forest said.
Forest said the event affirms those who are already college bound but also opens the eyes of students who don’t consider themselves college material. In fact, only a small portion of yesterday’s participants had ever been on the NTCC campus before.
“People get preconceived notions about not being college material. ‘I’m not college material’ is a statement I hear a lot on the streets,” Forest said. “I don’t even know what that means.”
Forest said she is considering improvements and an expansion of the event to show off the programs at NTCC.
“I think we missed an opportunity to show the students, to physically show them, what our programs have to offer, “ Forest said. “As we do the tours, it peaks their interest, but we need to send something home with them, something physical to remind them to do something.”
For more information on financial literacy or the Mad City reality simulator contact Linda Forest at Lforest@ntcc.edu