July 16, 2015 --
Several high school students were paid $700 in simulated bills when they signed in to attend a daylong seminar, July 14, at the Town and Country Restaurant’s Grand Ballroom aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
The course, “Life After High School,” provided information as well as hands-on training about several aspects of life before and after graduation from high school.
The students received an immediate lesson relating to credits, debits, fixed and variable costs. From the $700 of fake money they were given, they were required to pay several fees. Each reluctantly paid a litany of fixed charges, including $300 for the rented space, $50 for the use of a computer and $5 for Wi-Fi services. A total of $420 in fixed costs was collected from each person.
In addition to fixed fees, variable charges were accrued depending on each individual preference. Snacks, lunch, watching a movie and even taking breaks came at a cost. Although the money was not real, students had very real responses to the charges. Several opted to not take breaks citing $20 was too expensive.
To offset debits, opportunities to earn credits were available. Asking or answering questions, being helpful, giving compliments or having completed the SAT or ACT allowed students to gain income.
Alesha Gray, a student at Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, spoke to the high school students during the event. She explained she quickly learned proper budgeting is a critical skill set after she began attending college. She also spoke of other experiences in college and provided many helpful tips to ensure success.
Gray confirmed the “college 15,” which is the amount of weight most students gain once they are in college, is a reality. She warned of the repercussions of a bad reputation, suggested engaging professors often and early as well as provided the benefits of befriending upperclassmen. Gray ended her speech by insisting success or failure in college is up to each individual student.
During the training, students were informed they could begin their college course work while they are in high school. The dual enrollment program was discussed to give the pupils insight on completing college courses while still in high school. Dr. Lillian Rambeau, administrator, ExPand Program, detailed how a student could earn an associate degree from an accredited college and a high school diploma simultaneously.
Rambeau provided real examples by sharing several stories of students, including her daughter, Jayda Robinson, who’s attending Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from high school with a high school diploma and an associate degree. She has attended FSU for one year and will graduate this August with a Bachelor of Science degree at age 19.
College was not the only option discussed with the students. Military recruiters from the Marine Corps were also on hand.
Sgt. Marcus Keyes, recruiter, recruiting station, Jacksonville, Florida, shared with everyone he first tried college, but quickly realized that was not the best option for him.
“College is not for everyone; it wasn’t for me,” he said. “I had to go to my plan B, which was to join the Marine Corps.”
Thomas said his only regret was he did not join immediately following high school. He shared with the students, even those interested in obtaining a degree, that the Marine Corps is an excellent option to assist with paying for a college education.
Throughout the seminar, opportunities to learn about career choices were available. The pupils completed a 60-question occupational information network survey, which provided insight on career paths based on individual strengths and preferences.
“O*Net is a great tool for those who are unsure of exactly what they want to do as far as a career is concerned,” Paula Brown, education technician, MCLB Albany, said. “It will help them narrow down the choices and also gives a ten-year outlook of that particular career path.”
Tarah Young, a student at Deerfield-Windsor School, Albany, Georgia, spoke highly of the event.
“I wasn’t too pumped up to come, but I am so glad I did,” she said.
Young identified meeting the other participants as her favorite part of the seminar, but gave very high marks to every aspect of it.
“This was definitely a wake-up call for me; this is how it is in reality,” she said of the money exercise. “I learned I have to really manage my money.”
Students left armed with links and information regarding scholarships, guides to college and career planning, employment, résumé writing, finances, as well as new friends.