LETTERS: Caz students participate in ‘Mad City,’ get financial reality check

To the editor:

The First Annual Cazenovia “Mad City” event took place on March 27 in the Cazenovia High School Gymnasium.

My personal and business finance class, along with the Credit Union National Association, planned and hosted this educational event.

Our instructor Christina New also invited 25 Chittenango students to join us in the fun and encourage us to network.

Mad City was designed to give us a “financial reality check,” complete with: occupations, salaries, spouses and children, student loan debt, credit card debt, auto and medical insurance payments, groceries, child care, clothing, housing and many other needs.

At Mad City, we built a monthly budget based on our income and experienced the consequences of making poor financial decisions in order to develop better spending habits.

We used debit cards for our purchases and had to balance both our debit card registers and our budgets. We also had to visit with several salesman to negotiate prices for our cars and houses.

To be more realistic, Mrs. New dressed up as Darth Vader and randomly gave each student bad financial news. We learned to plan for unexpected windfalls and expenses as a result.

We also got to choose one piece of good news out of a gumball machine. That was nice!

Cazenvoia student Max Nowak fell victim to identity theft. We all felt bad for him. His credit was ruined and it took him forever to finish the simulation.

That taught us all a lesson in being careful and checking our records.

All in all, it was a great day and we are looking forward to the event next year.

We would like to thank all of the volunteers from the community and the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce again for volunteering their time to role-play with us.

Without them, this event could not have taken place.

We also want to thank Eric Schnabl, Susan Vickers, Michael Byrnes, Bob Dubik and the Cazenovia Central School District Board of Education for all of their support.

Lastly, we want to give a very special thanks to Mrs. New for putting this all together.

Cameron Braathen

Cazenovia High School

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