TOP PHOTO: On Friday morning, eighth graders at La Follette Middle School learned about real world budgeting and had an interactive experience to develop their financial literacy skills.

Colton Meadors, who plans on a career of owning his own bakery, works on his budget during Adulting 101. He calls the game fun and said he hasn’t had any surprises.

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Sarah Huddleston was hit with an $800 home repair bill. Eli Lee signed up for utilities. Destiny Higginbotham purchased insurance for her car. No, these aren’t adults, these are some of the 155 8th graders learning about “life after school” in GEAR UP TN’s Adulting 101 Game. Friday morning at La Follette Middle School 13 and 14-year old students dined on a big serving of real life in the school cafeteria.

“This is our fourth year of Adulting 101. It all began through our local GEAR UP with Monica Bane. Mrs. Bane has loaned the material to make it happen,” said Linda Prim, School Counselor, La Follette Middle School. The objective of the 90-minute game is to stimulate real world budgeting and provide students with an interactive experience to develop financial literacy skills. While the game is based in the fictional city of Volunteer Station, the salaries and prices in the game are based entirely on real life estimates from a mid-sized, growing city here in Tennessee.

LMS 8th graders worked with representatives with the Plugged In Energy.
Eli Lee (right) decides on what services he needs with Plugged In Energy as PIE Representative Jason Prim assists.

The game takes place over the course of one fictional month in the players’ lives after graduating from high school. Each student is randomly assigned a career, salary and life scenario. The careers in the game vary widely and represent a range of salaries and post-secondary educational requirements. As students move through the game, they will make “life” purchases like housing, transportation, food and more from the different stations around the room while managing their budget to make sure they don’t run out of money.

Students receive a blank expense ledger with a check list on the back side, a pencil and a calculator at the start of the game.

A “Who Am I” card is then drawn by students out of a deck of cards. Students may not return or exchange their cards.

Who Am I? cards contain the following information: Career/Job…Career cluster…Annual salary…Job description…Degree/Certification Required. If the career does not require a degree/certificate, the TN Reconnect Eligible field will indicate that the player is eligible to visit the Reconnect booth during the game…Monthly salary…Family description…Minimum number of bedrooms required when purchasing a home or renting an apartment from TN Treasures Real Estate…Number in Family…Monthly additions/deductions based on family details, for example – child care expenses…Partner’s Monthly Salary…Monthly household income

Living life for a month included purchasing insurance.
Jewell Burress and Destiny Higginbotham work with Lori Johnson with the Just In Case Insurance Company. In real life, Johnson is an insurance agent with E.E. Hill & Son Insurance in La Follette.

The eight different stations students will visit throughout the game are:
• New Wheels Dealership – Price list of cars for sale
• TN Treasures Real Estate – Listing of homes for sale and apartments for rent.
• Plugged In Energy – Price list for essential (gas, water, sewer, trash, etc) and non-essential (cable, internet, etc)
• Just in Case Insurance – List of insurance prices, student insurance cards, stickers to indicate insurance purchases
on student insurance cards
• Get Goin’ Gas Station – Monthly price list of gas based on home location
• Super Foods Market – List of monthly grocery expenses based on family size
• Smoky Mountain One Stop shop – Price list for appliances, furniture, and electronics
• Dogwood Medical Center – Diagnosis cards

The Green Reaper, Judy Lane, hits Sarah Huddleston with one of life’s unforeseen events.

Then there’s the Green Reaper. She makes her way around the stations throwing students curves that are a part of life and happen to all of us. The Green Reaper doles out life’s unforeseen events like a flat tire, home repairs and a higher than usual utility bill.

The hot water heater busted at Sarah Huddleston’s house and flooded her basement.

Twenty community volunteers came out to help make Adulting 101 possible. “We could not begin to do this without the support of our community volunteers,” said Prim.

As students begin another week of school today, LMS 8th graders have a whole new perspective about life. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 03/14/2022-6AM)

2 Replies to “Rent to utilities to repairs, 8th graders learn to deal with it all”

  1. I absolutely LOVE this! I wish there were mandatory classes to actually teach children the life skills they need to navigate real life. Skills like managing finances, basic cooking and sewing skills, changing a tire, oil and brakes, gardening basics, etc. for both boys and girls.

  2. This class should be mandatory in every school in America. My granddaughters could sure use it, but their school here in Knoxville doesn’t offer anything like this. Young people are leaving school without a clue.

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