More than 300 students and 100 teams participated in a simulated game of life to win a total of $50,000 in Mad City Scholarship Money

High school seniors learn all about financial management through competition that gave them roles, jobs, income, a family and debt

MENTOR, OH (April 25, 2024) — Learning that every decision has financial consequences, high school seniors from around the Greater Cleveland area put their financial skills to the test to compete for $50,000 in college scholarships in the annual Mad City Money Scholarship competition. From March 12 to April 17, five area high schools, including Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School, Lake Catholic High School, Eastlake North High School, Mentor High School, and Willoughby South High School, each co-hosted a simulated game of life along with Cardinal Credit Union.

In all, 15 teams of three students representing first, second and third place were awarded scholarships of $10,000 per school, resulting in 45 students winning a total of $50,000. The number of students participating in this year’s competition was outstanding. By the numbers, Lake Catholic had the most students participate as a percentage of their senior class with 80% and 85 students and Mentor had the most teams and students with 30 teams and 90 students.

Winners were chosen based on their ability to achieve an average balance of $100 as a team and turning in their competition packages within the allotted time limit. A select number of Cardinal employees reviewed and scored the packets based on math and budgeting skills to determine the winners. First place winners were awarded a grand prize of up to $1,500 for each team member, second place winners received $1,000 each and third place winners qualified for $800 each.

Many of the winners have already chosen what college they plan to attend, while others are still deciding. Among those who have committed, selections include Kent State University, The Ohio State University, Allegheny College, Illinois Institute of Technology, American University and Bowling Green State University.

During the 90-minute live, in-person competition, teams of students visited on-site “merchants” to purchase housing, transportation, food, clothing, day care and other wants and needs, all while balancing a budget. Students had to make hard decisions during the simulated game of life. Comments heard included, “I want my baby to have the best daycare possible,” “My wife deserves a nice car,” “I’m going cheap on a house right now,” and “why did I spend so much with my credit card?”  We can all relate!

In addition, following the competition at Willoughby South High School on April 17, Lake County Treasurer Dr. Mike Zuren presented Cardinal Credit Union CEO Christine Blake with the Community Impact Award recognizing a Lake County business that has a significant impact on the community.

“Cardinal Credit Union couldn’t have been more pleased to co-host the Mad City Money Scholarship competition as part of our community financial education initiatives,” said Christine Blake, CEO, Cardinal Credit Union. “It was an incredible effort and we received high marks from students, teachers, school administrators, parents and the community. We can’t wait to see how far our winners go and we will back next year in 2025 with the 15th edition of the Mad City Money Scholarship competition.”

About Cardinal Credit Union

Headquartered in Mentor, Ohio, Cardinal Credit Union is a 71-year-old fiercely independent, member-owned not-for-profit financial cooperative that offers a broad range of banking products and services that people need and use every day – including checking accounts, CDs, credit cards, auto loans, debt-consolidation loans, mortgages and more. As a not-for-profit financial institution, any profits earned by the credit union are returned to its members in the form of fewer fees, lower loan rates, and higher savings interest. Everyone is welcome, and membership is instant. Banking can be done online, via Cardinal’s app, or by stopping in at one of its seven branches. For more information, visit the website at


Janet Brumfield

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