Every school year, all Tippecanoe Valley freshmen are required to take Preparing For College and Careers, a course which helps students learn about different career paths and college expectations. Also, through this class, they gain real-life experience by traveling to the Junior Achievement (JA) Finance Park in Fort Wayne, Indiana; it is a center where kids can learn how to make a budget and use it effectively. Students from Mr. Darren Parker and Mr. Aaron Engbrecht’s attended the event for one day in October.
JA Finance Park is a not-for-profit organization, which, according to the group’s mission statement, empowers young people to own their future economic success by enhancing the relevancy of education. Volunteers ranging from Fort Wayne community members to upperclassmen from Tippecanoe Valley helped at the event by supervising each station. After each student is given their marital status and number of children, they are instructed to “travel” to different businesses and create a budget not only for themselves, but their family members as well. The stations are specific to their own category and are very unique. From banks, automotive shops, and restaurants, to retail stores and entertainment, the JA Finance Park allows for students to make a budget for everything they will need in the real world.
At the end of the day, after “traveling” to various businesses, students calculate their final budget and see if they have any extra money remaining for either saving purposes or spending on a certain object. After this, they can see how well (or how poorly) they created a budget. This event helps students plan for the future and build skills they will need as well.