The Rise and Reign of the Empire of 901


Photos by Ela P.E.

Students in Mr. Aldrich’s fifth period class enjoy doing their classroom jobs and participating in the economy of the the Empire of 901.

In CJ Aldrich’s civics classroom, aka the Empire of 901, Kahuna dollars are in great demand. A Kahuna dollar is the currency for Aldrich’s kingdom, designed to help students better understand the workings of an economic system.

It all started with a teacher named Adam Cheney, who used to work for Longfellow. Cheney moved on after a year, but Mr. Aldrich continued the experiment.

At the beginning of the school year, Aldrich gives out job descriptions, and students can apply for a job that they find appealing. According to Mr. Aldrich, the Regional Manager is one of the most important jobs because “they run and supervise all the other jobs.”

Aashna K., the regional manager of her classroom, described how this economic system can help her in the future. “I think simulating a leadership role is great practice for when I do it for real in the future. And I’m sure some of my classmates feel similarly, especially with jobs such as banker and sergeant in arms,” she said.

Students are being taught responsibility, an extremely valuable trait when it comes to having a job.

In addition to teaching students about leadership and responsibility, Mr. Aldrich’s economic system teaches students to manage their money, Kahuna Dollars, wisely.

“I feel like we are learning to properly manage our money and be careful what we do with it,” said Hannah A., another of Mr. Aldrich’s students. She also says that it “gives us an insight on how the real world works.”

Mr. Aldrich explains that he knows his students care about the system because they always notify him right away when they need to get paid.

“I am constantly asked questions-‘when are we getting paid, when will we have the auction, can I have a raise?’ etc. on a daily basis,” Aashna said.

These questions show that students are engaged in the economic system and paying close attention to doing their jobs to the best of their abilities in order to get the desired outcome– money!

Although this economic system teaches students valuable lessons such as having a job and managing money, students have a few ideas on how to make it even better.

According to Hannah, the classroom government leans towards communism. “Everyone owns everything, and everyone gets an equal share of everything,” she described. She would like to see this system evolve into a more democratic government so that it applies to the United States.

Aashna would like to recognize those who do their jobs extremely well.

“There are some people in my class, such as the chairmaster (she sets up the desks for all of us before class), who are exceptionally good at their job. I would love for their hard work to be recognized!” Aashna stated.

Mr. Aldrich creates an environment where students have fun and learn about the government and different jobs. In Aashna’s words, this economic system “gives our class a sense of community.”