"Mad City" Puts Solvay High School Students in Real-Life Financial Scenarios

Jan 10, 2014

Who knew day care costs so much?  You mean I have to buy insurance?  Oops, guess we can’t afford that new smart phone.  

Seniors Davis Kippen, far left, and his "wife," Loren, red pants, reflect on their choices at Mad City, Solvay High School.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Those were just some of the real-life financial lessons being learned Friday at Solvay High School at an event called Mad City.   Each student is given a packet with their assigned occupation, salary, and some debt.  they then visit the various “merchants” who sell food, cars, furniture, clothes, and so on.  Economics teacher Karen Harmon has helped lead the simulation since it started five years ago. 

Both Davis and Nataly admit they learned a lot from the experience.  They say there are many expenses they don't think about living with their parents.  

Students at "Mad City" in the gym at Solvay High School.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

 All students in Mad City received a credit score before the simulation based on the results of a credit quiz taken in class.   Davis scored a respectable 760, but Nataly admits she earned a 600.  At Mad City, she says that kept her from buying a house, and made car payments higher.  Nataly says she now knows she needs a good credit score to survive in the real world.