Newbury School students run Biztown

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HOWELL – Fourth and fifth grade pupils from the Newbury School got a taste of adult life at the Junior Achievement (JA) Biztown in Edison, where they had the chance to experience running a town for a day.

Biztown is a simulated community that provides young people with hands-on experiences to understand the real world, according to a press release. Students were responsible for learning how to balance a checkbook, manage a savings and checking account, apply for a loan and calculate interest. They learned about the importance of voting, selecting a qualified applicant for a job and applying for a desired job.

The Newbury pupils were Project GOAL and Enrichment Cluster Groups students. The field trip took place on Jan. 22.

At Biztown, Howell Mayor Bill Gotto began the day by swearing in Dan Mihovch, who had been elected by his fellow pupils to serve as mayor. The mayor and all of the CEOs of Biztown described the services their business would be offering. Following their remarks, JA Biztown was open for business and students were in charge for the remainder of the day, according to the press release.

Parent volunteers worked with students to manage accounts, make purchases and collect inventory. At the end of the day, the business operators reported on whether they were successful in paying back their business loans. A closing ceremony completed the event.

Ray Gredder, the Newbury vice principal and supervisor of the program for gifted and talented pupils, said, “The goal of the project was to teach financial literacy and real world work skills, and to develop communication and teamwork. This is the first time a Howell class has participated in the program and we are already signed up for next year because it was such a success.”

Student Eliana Mandelberg said, “Biztown taught me how to deposit a check, how to fill out a deposit ticket, how to work as an adult and so much more.”