Fifth-graders from Chapman Elementary School learned last week what it takes to run a city and its industries.

Fifth-graders from Chapman Elementary School learned last week what it takes to run a city and its industries.

In a visit last Friday to JA BizTown in Hilliard, the Dublin students experienced what it's like to serve as a mayor and to approve bank loans, sell homes and publish the local newspaper, along with working other jobs.

JA BizTown, formerly known as Exchange City, is a program of Junior Achievement. It gives students "a picture of what it is like to work for a day, experiencing the responsibilities and opportunities of citizenship in a free enterprise system," said Cheryl Dritz, vice president of education.

The "city" covers about 10,000 square feet and includes a city hall, bank, wellness center, cafe, newspaper office, broadcast and TV stations, Battelle science center, nature store, sports venue, sign shop and professional offices.

The program begins in the classroom where volunteers -- parents and members of the business community -- prepare for their day in JA BizTown, said Chapman teacher DeeAnna Chickerella.

The 103 Chapman students completed a six-week classroom study on what it takes to make a community thrive, she said. They also learn how to write checks and balance a checkbook, and how to manage their money.

The program teaches students the "spirit of entrepreneurship and teamwork and gives them an understanding of what adults really do," Chickerella said.

Students get "a greater appreciation of what their parents do to earn a living and what it means to earn dollars and the value of money," she said.

Once at Exchange City, the students become entrepreneurs, said teacher Mary Kalix. They know they must make money to pay off their business loans.

Annie Underwood was the CEO of the Nature Store and Shivam Patel was its CFO.

"Our goal is to pay off our $194 loan," said Underwood.

They were selling "nature-related" items such as dog toys and flower-topped pens, Patel said.

"We're advertising on the radio and TV because everybody listens to them," he said.

Over at the TV station, anchors Chloe Myrick and Logan Wolfe were preparing to go on camera with the day's news.

"I like to be on TV and like to act. People tell me I have a great personality," said Myrick.

"I like to act and wanted to have fun with it," Wolfe said.

The preparation for JA BizTown "taught us how a real city and how real businesses run," he said.

Parent volunteer Sue Hatras saw the value in the day's program.

"It's a useful type of knowledge and teaches them how the world around them works," she said. "It teaches them very valuable everyday lessons."

Kayla Rowand was elected mayor for the day. "I wanted to help city hall and the entire BizTown operate more smoothly," she said. "I think this will really help us in the future."