Fifth graders learn adulting is hard at Junior Achievement BizTown

- Adulting is hard! 

No one knows that better than a group of fifth graders who learned that lesson Wednesday, while running a small town at the Junior Achievement headquarters in Maplewood. 

In “JA BizTown,” the banker, construction crews and even tax collectors are all fifth graders, but they already know a lot about the real world. Just ask the mayor. 

“Everyone gets their say in a decision and we all consider all the ideas and then I kind of confirm them,” said JA BizTown Mayor, Alexa Belair. 

Belair was elected to her position after giving a speech in front of her classmates at Jeffers Pond Elementary School in Prior Lake. 

In her first, exclusive interview since taking office, Belair explains what keeps her up at night. 

“Taxes, writing checks, just having a budget that you need to work on," said Belair said. "It's a lot of work." 

Every day of the week, Junior Achievement hosts students for JA BizTown. Before the experience, they take more than a dozen lessons in their classrooms to prepare. 

“Everyone is being a producer and a consumer," said Belair. "They have breaks, and they learn how to make a check, or use a debit card. They also get to run around and try to have fun."

“I make sure the business is running smoothly and everything is getting out on time,” said JA BizTown Newspaper CEO Kavya Muppidi. 

Students go through a standard job search, including building resumes, filling out applications and interviewing. 

The most popular jobs are bank teller, radio DJ and newspaper photographer. 

The least popular job: Tax collector.

“My dad was a DJ and I thought it would be really fun to do what my dad did and pick songs,” said JA BizTown DJ William Jones. 

Though the town is made up of 10 and 11-year-olds, they have advice most adults could use. 

“Have a good attitude, stay positive,” Belair said. 

“Keep being a kid, because being a grownup is really hard,” Muppidi said. 

According to Junior Achievement, the program is so popular that it is over-capacity and the organization has to turn students away. 

They are in the process of opening a new location in St. Paul that will double the number of students who can participate in JA BizTown. The new location is set to open this fall. 

For more information about JA BizTown, click here.

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