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Preston County Students Learn Lessons From the School of Hard Knocks

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BRUCETON MILLS -

Life in the eighth grade is considered pretty easy, life as a 28 year-old, not so much.

To bridge the education gap, eighth graders from the Bruceton School took a lesson from the School of Hard Knocks, for a few hours transforming into adults in the real world.

Wednesday, like most of her classmates, Elizabeth Ennis's life was fast-tracked. Married-off, she's now 28, working as a physical therapist, with a house and car. A stop at the Family Life stand told her she had a child, and twins on the way. Ennis soon realized the budget was getting tight.

"I wasn't expecting to pull the kids card, and then when I saw how many I had I was surprised and kind of worried about how much money I'd have to use on them and stuff like that," Ennis said.

The School of Hard Knocks Program sent the kids through college, leaving them to pay-off loans. They were given a job, made to get insurance, a home, and left to figure out how to balance the budget.

"They go into about three of four booths and you start talking to them and there worried that they're not doing it right," said program instructor Susan Waugh. "You check with them and they're actually doing the process right, and what's scaring them is there actually running out of money faster then they expected."

Students bounced around station to station and spoke with real industry experts like bankers and realtors along the way.

One stand included an unexpected twist designed to teach kids about life's unexpected moments.

"I was doing good because I was a surgeon and I was making $205,000 a year," said Geno Riggle. "I got my house, the most expensive house there is an all that, and I was still doing good. But it turned out my dog escaped my house and bit a women and she's suing me for $300,000."

Teachers said they hope student leave more prepared for life and inspired to work harder in high school, and if nothing else they hope students understand life will not always be easy.

"I'm scared, and know life's going to be hard. I know that for sure," Riggle said.