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School of Hard Knocks

What do I want to be?

Our students started their Career Exploration in our Computer Lab in January. At Koontz, we have wonderful Leader Teams. I am fortunate to work with Mrs. Patricia Whiteside each year on our 9 Week Long Career Unit. Our students begin exploring their interest and job matches through They create their own page where they can save their results and searches. During this time in the computer lab they plug in their skill matches through a variety of questions and answers. The result: 50 matching careers. They begin to explore the colleges, universities, technical schools and trade schools in North Carolina that offer the degree they need for the job they have chosen. These choices are gathered in a Google form along with the starting salary for the chosen job as well as the cost of the degree at the college of their choice.

Off to the classroom:

In the classroom, students begin discussing salaries, checking and debit accounts and the taxing process on the new "job" they will have at the "School of Hard Knocks". Community volunteers from local banks come in to share with our students in March.

The Game:

After all the information is compiled on each of our 6th graders, the students participate in the School of Hard Knocks. The "School" is like a game of life we play on the gym floor. With a month's "pay" in hand, they move around the gym "purchasing" houses, cars, insurance as well as paying their grocery bill, utility bill, child care fees and many more. They have other purchases like gifts, vacations and the popular "Life's Unexpected" Wheel of chance. On the wheel are those bumps (or positives) like: "Your children need coats for the winter", "you ran out of gas on the highway", or "time to buy school clothes for your kids". If the money doesn't hold out, the students can try to get a loan from the bank as well as a second job from our "HELP WANTED" booth.

Reviews on the "School of Hard Knocks" have been 5+ over the past 3 years! Volunteers are a big part of the success of the game. Community volunteers are welcome. Please contact Lyn Bush: or call (828) 684-1295 and mention the "School of Hard Knocks".

Lyn Bush, 6th Grade School Counselor; School of Hard Knocks Coordinator

Please consider volunteering for The School of Hard Knocks. We have 16 booths that need volunteers for both shifts. Thanks!