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Published: Friday, 3/28/2014 - Updated: 2 years ago

High school students play game of 'Life' at Owens

Two-hundred forty high school students participating in the board game. Two-hundred forty high school students participating in the board game.
THE BLADE/MATT THOMPSON Enlarge | Buy This Photo

About 240 high school students used themselves as game pieces in a game of "Life" Thursday at Owens Community College.

The life-size version of the board game was designed to help teach students about money decisions and how fast a budget can add up.

"Our goal is when they are out on their own in college or working that they know how to pay bills and are not thinking it is just rent," said Brenda Schwind, program director for Directions Credit Union, one of the event sponsors. "They say they didn't realize how many things their parents have to pay for, and how expensive kids are."

Directions worked with the Northwest Ohio Credit Unions and Bowling Green State University students to organize the project that Owens hosted on its Perrysburg Township campus. This event has been going on for 10 years according to Ms. Schwind.

The game the students played had a mix of chance and decisions to try finish with money leftover. They rolled dice to see salary, spouse salary or debts, student loans, and number of children. Other turns included spinning a wheel to see whether there were car repairs expenses or buying a tux for a wedding.

Real-world lessons were taught to high school students during the game of "Life" at Owens. Real-world lessons were taught to high school students during the game of "Life" at Owens.
THE BLADE/MATT THOMPSON Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Decisions the students had to make were what kind of housing, transportation, entertainment and other expenses in their lives were. For those without much money, the entertainment could be renting free movies from the library or going to the park.

Some students said they wouldn't have cable or Internet to help with the game, but Ms. Schwind said in real-life those decisions may change.

High schools at the event included Swanton, Bedford, Lakota, Wood County Alternative, Old Fort, Bowling Green, Vanguard, Clay, and Maumee. The learning day also included practicing writing checks and some presentations on finances.

"Financial education was pulled out of high schools a while ago. This gives teachers a way to give students financial education," Ms. Schwind said. "We try to make it fun. The fact is, it is a boring subject."

Even the students who begin the game with a bad attitude toward it, she said, end up getting competitive and bragging about having less children to pay for than other students.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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