Christine Lee, Irving Reporter
Students visiting a new installation of Junior Achievement's "Finance Park" in Irving will learn lessons about making ends meet in their monthly budgets.
From buying a house to feeding a family, a group of high schoolers in Irving are learning first-hand what it means to be out in the real world.
The partnership among Junior Achievement of Dallas, Capital One Bank, and a number of businesses in the DFW community made it possible to create a Finance Park at Austin Middle School in the Irving Independent School District.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorated Monday's event.
"This program used to be a mobile unit. It would travel to a school and it was never permanently here in the Metroplex," said Capital One Bank's Dallas Market President Jorge Calderon.
For the past six years, JA Finance Park has been teaching students in the DFW area about real spending. Linda Schoelkopf, President of Junior Achievement of Dallas, said "their goal is to make sure they have money left at the end of the month and not month left at the end of their money."
Each student is given a real-life scenario including a family, a job, and a salary. Based on their situations, they need decide how to spend their money in various categories.
About 1,300 students are expected to visit the JA Finance Park in Irving over the course of three weeks. A lot of students had no idea how much insurance costs.
They also didn't want to budge on a couple of things like phones and cars.
"I got a 2009 BMW. It was about $873 per month. Yeah, so no bargain," said Victoria Banderg, a senior at MacArthur High. "As a teenager, you don't look at education and insurance and all that stuff. We really don't pay for anything."
Teachers and volunteers advise the students to get out on top. Students said the hands-on learning experience has made them grateful for their family's support.
"I kind of went crazy on the car, so it's probably the most expensive thing I have on there right now," said MacArthur senior Jerson Galindo, who bought a Corvette with his $53,000 salary. "Appreciate what your parents do for you, because this stuff is not easy."
The JA finance park will be in Irving until March 9, then moves to South Dallas in late April.