Students at Edward Milne community school (EMCS) are wrapping up this semester’s Junior Achievement course, “JA Economics for Success.” The course, taught by RCMP Corporal Scott Hilderley is offered to Grade 10 students every semester. This particular four-lesson course focusses on preparing for a successful future in life beyond high school.
A high impact lesson and one of Hilderley’s favourites, is Lesson 2: Keep Your Balance. Students are presented with the scenario of first independence, that day when you move out of your parents’ house and are on your own for the first time.
The first thing students are asked to do in this second lesson is to determine their monthly living expenses. Food, rent, utilities, cell phone and internet, transportation, clothing, recreation, health costs and other incidentals are all recorded.
Next, students look at paycheques and are asked to compare their expenses with their income. For many, says Hilderley, it is their first indication of how much things cost. And they start strategizing on how to get better paying jobs or on getting a second job. But with a second job, points out Hilderley, they quickly discover they don’t have the time to do the things they had planned for in their budget.
An awareness of the complex inter-relations of financial realities develop, along with a budding awareness of the long-term implications of today’s choices and the importance of choosing wisely.
This program works as a strong complement to Hilderley’s day job, as the area coordinator with RCMP’s Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Service. When students have goals, says Hilderley, they have a sense of cause and effect. The Economics for Success program helps direct a student’s attention to their future, helps them become goal-oriented.
“Life is about choice, not chance,” said Hilderley in his presentation to the students. And taking control of one’s choices is what this particular program is all about.