December 12, 2008
Ensuring that high school seniors in Special Education are prepared not only academically, but financially as well, over 150 students from the Sweetwater Union High School District participated in a one-day “real-world” finance simulation called Independent City held at the Otay Recreation Center in Chula Vista on December 4, 2008. Students were given a “paycheck” and then were given the task to open a bank account, rent an apartment, set up utilities, find transportation and even shop for groceries.
“It is extremely important for us as a district to prepare our students for life after graduation,” said Board President Pearl Quiñones. “This workshop gives our Special Education students an opportunity to learn first-hand some of the skills that they will need in their lives.”
In addition to the students who participated, over 50 parents, teachers and administrators from the Sweetwater Union High School District also participated. Among these volunteers was the program founder, Sandy Howes, who proudly wears the title of “Mayor of Independent City.” Howes, a teacher with the Grossmont Union High School District, has gladly shared this program because of the important role it plays for students.
“This event shows us all the things we need to do and the things we need to be independent,” said Eastlake High School Senior, Kyle Araiza. “I’m glad we get to come here and do this.”
Independent City was organized by Kim Westmorland in the District’s Special Services Department. Special Services Director Dr. Ron Lopez served as the emcee for the event.