More than 350 sixth grade students and teachers from Van Cleve Elementary School in Troy spent the day Friday attending classes and learning real world financial responsibility at Edison State Community College during Kids To College. The annual program is a collaborative effort with Troy City Schools, The Ohio State University Extension Office and is funded by a grant from the Troy Foundation.

This is the ninth year for the program at Edison, which provides students with a curriculum that focuses on financial literacy, careers and the value of an education beyond high school. Initial sessions are held at Van Cleve in the weeks leading up to the event to help prepare students for a simulation that requires them to make consumer decisions, pay bills and balance a checkbook.

Students at VanCleve found the program to be eye opening. “There is a big difference between needs and wants,” said one student. “I learned how your education and your decisions make a huge impact on your life,” added another student. “You need to save money for more important stuff.”

While at Edison State, students spent time in the classroom learning about a variety of topics ranging from anatomy and physics to business and early childhood education. In addition to attending various sessions and simulations, students had the opportunity to spend time and interact with Edison State faculty and staff in the cafeteria during lunch.

“It’s a truly rewarding experience to help young students think about their futures in such an interactive way, said Christina Raterman, Edison State Enrollment Manager. “Things really start clicking for them—they get the correlation between working hard and staying in school and the opportunities that provides to make a financially secure living.”

“I also see them develop more of an understanding of where their parents are coming from in paying for bills and the realities of being an adult,” added Raterman. “It’s an educational and fun experience for them!”