Chamber president Bob Panek shows students the cost of housing.

Huntley Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Bob Panek explains the cost of housing to HHS students.

On November 30th, approximately 300 HHS students learned about real-life financial decision-making at the Game of Life, an interactive event hosted at the high school by the Huntley Area Chamber of Commerce.  

Students navigated through 14 interactive stations staffed by local businesses and community volunteers. Stations included taxes, food/clothing, childcare, cell phones, utilities, insurance, pets, automobiles, housing, financial advising, and community services. Students rotated through the stations, tracking their expenses and making financial decisions. They also visited a “spin the wheel” station that added an element of unpredictability to the financial planning process.

Participating students were primarily sophomores enrolled in the semester-long personal finance course. In preparation for the event, students researched a desired career to determine their expected salary and monthly income and were then paired with a classmate to establish a joint income. 

“I found that sometimes, with our income, my partner and I weren’t able to afford the more expensive stuff,” said sophomore Ashlyn Rankin. “But it worked out most of the time because we were able to find good ways to save our money and have it for the future.” 

According to the chamber’s executive director Nancy Binger, the Game of Life event aligns with the chamber’s mission to foster collaboration between local businesses and educational institutions, creating opportunities for students to gain practical skills and insights that will benefit them in their future careers. 

“This hands-on approach aims to give students a realistic understanding of the challenges they may face in managing their finances in the future,” said Binger. “These organizations are committed to supporting the local community and contributing to the educational development of Huntley High School students.”

The Chamber launched the Game of Life for HHS students last spring and will repeat the event in March for students taking personal finance during the second semester.