Grade: Senior
Subject: other

#266. Stay in School

other, level: Senior
Posted by TeamYouth (
Youth Development and Research Fund, Wash, DC
Materials Required: visit and get acquainted with our entire site. all material is the
Activity Time: 2 hrs
Concepts Taught: Motivation, self-help

Why Bother

Provide students with information and data on the consequences of not taking responsibility for their own development.


List the economic and social costs of not completing and continuing their education.

Discuss why some young adults are successful and other are not.


This is the "in your face" session. The message is personal responsibility. It is theirs and theirs alone. Remember, always turn the discussion back to the quotes in the book. It must never appear that you are promoting adult concepts and ideas. Remind them that we just took what their peers stated and put them into context. We are keeping it real. Will they do the same? Challenge them!

Young adults, like most of us, do not need to be convinced that they must take responsibility for their own development. The problem is that actions don't always follow words.

Reproduce any info on our page that you will need. You have our permission for distribution to students.

Make reading the web page a homework assignment prior to this session. If they don't have access to the www at home or school then print it up and make copies.

Have a few calculators handy.

You should be prepared to define the following terms in the course of the presentation:

Success - taking responsibility for your own development.

Interpersonal - occurring between two or more people

Consequences - Costs of your actions


I.The Test
30 minutes

Have participants complete the test in the "how to lose $420,000 in your lifetime" Section of our web page.

Questions for Discussions?

How much could you potentially lose in your lifetime if you fail to complete high school or get your GED plus further education?

How much could you potentially lose in your life time if you fail to complete college?

What are some of the things that you could do with that type of money over a lifetime?

Why do high school graduates earn more than drop-outs?

What other factors could influence your lifetime earnings?

What are your first thoughts on the message on the e Teamyouth web page?

What do you think they are trying to say?

Why do they take this type of tone?

What do you think about the stories off the young adults' on the page?

Do you agree with the TEAMYOUTH? If not, what else is needed for young people to ensure future economic achievement?

There will be one young person who will reference drugs or other illegal activity as a means of economic achievement. Do us a favor, tell him or her to get real! If they knew anything about the drug game, they would know three things:

1: Most drug dealers make less than 300 week.

2: Drug dealers work long hours under dangerous conditions.

3: Most drug dealers are on the streets less than 18 months.

Now, if they still want to maintain that they can achieve long term economic achievement doing what is illegal and basically doesn't work (ask them to show you a successful drug dealer who has sent all of their children through college and is now retired and enjoying life).

You probably cannot be as dramatic as we are with the young people we work with, but, nevertheless, get the point across. We can no longer legitimize drug dealing as a rational response to the lack of employment opportunities for young men.

II. Other Measures of Success
20 Minutes

State that theweb page alluded to other things besides money that makes one successful. What are some of those things? This is a great opportunity to speak about assets, equity, credit, contribution to community, raising a family, job satisfaction, etc.

III. Optional Activity:
The Cost of Your Life
45 Minutes

In this activity students will brainstorm and calculate the costs of their life. It will entail calculating the cost of living for one year and multiplying that cost by the estimated remaining years of life. Use 80 as the average life expectancy for this exercise.

Ask students to be as inclusive as possible. Include everything from groceries to mortgage payments. Write all of the costs on the board or flip chart. Your students may have no idea of what the cost of living is for a middle class adult with a family. They will need your help and guidance.

We recommend doing this exercise as a group.

Once the exercise is completed, help your students determine the average wage to afford all of the listed items per year. Once an amount has been calculated, review the Dollars and Sense box. Based on the average lifetime earnings of the different achievers, what items will an individual have to give up? Cross them off the Board. See what will be left. Your students will be surprised.

Side note: This exercise dramatizes the cost of living and what one will have to earn to live comfortably. As you cross items off the board the board, be dramatic.

Upon completion of the exercise ask the group:

What did you learn?
What can you do to ensure that you will have the comforts of life?

If you use this lesson please emial us with feedback and suggestions for improvement.