Lessons on money management made fun

A yearlong adventure in the study of economics is drawing to a close for the fifth graders of Wakarusa Elementary School. The afternoon of Wednesday, May 18, the cafeteria was the setting for a spirited auction featuring dozens of treasures donated by area families and businesses.
The economics lessons have been ongoing since the first part of the 2010-11 school year, with every fifth grade teacher and student taking part. The classes have devoted many hours to the practice of money management, savings and expenses, and other skills pertinent to fiscal responsibility.
    Performance in the classroom generally worked in correlation with the “payroll” the students received every two weeks. From that point, the decisions were theirs to make, whether they wished to parlay a portion of their earnings into savings, make purchases, pay “bills,” and so forth.  They were given the chance to spend their wages on such things as school supplies, treats and snacks, and homework passes.
Also, approximately once a month, those who opted in could participate in a marketplace enterprise. Student vendors used their retail expertise to buy and sell goods and services. There was always creativity on display with these ventures, with students selling anything from homemade goodies to photographs with family pets to “salon” treatments, and much more. Having worked diligently since last fall to bolster their savings accounts, students were more than eager to do some shopping. 
Donations were bountiful, and included such sought after luxuries as movie passes, gift certificates to several area retailers, sports memorabilia, toys, and books. The community gave so generously, in fact, that there were many items left over, when time simply ran out as the school day inched closer to dismissal time.
“Auctioneer” Wendy Delio presided over the event, assisted by a number of parent and staff volunteers. The gifts that were not sold during the auction will be set aside for a special store during the last week of school, giving the students one final opportunity to purchase merchandise, and to truly reap the rewards of a very successful endeavor.