Students in Mrs. Atherton's fifth grade class treated Tuesday like any other day. The only difference-- students left school with $1 million checks. The fake yellow checks represent the difference in earnings between a person with a bachelor's degree and a person with a high school diploma.
"It just should be in their heads. 'I'm going to college, I just gotta figure out which one.' And its our job to help them get there," said Lewton Elementary Principal Teri Bernero.
Students at Everett High School also received the fake checks. The goal, of course, is to inspire both students and parents to think about the future.
"With globalization going on and all those kinds of things, it's really important to get that higher education," said Everett Senior Paul Wilson.
The checks were made by the Keep Learning Coalition, organized by educators, businesses, members of the government and media. The goal is focusing on Michigan youth. The message-- education leads to jobs.
"If you can get past high school and get to college at least you've got a fighting chance," said Everett Principal Howard Cousins. "Whether its a four-year, two-year, technical school, trade school, whatever. We want you to have something more than just a high school diploma."
All agree-- the message needs to be taught at a young age.
"A lot of the younger kids they want to be the movie stars , the all-star basketball player, the rock star because they want to be rich," said Bernero. "Here's an opportunity for us to teach kids, 'hey stay in school, go to college, get a degree and you'll make your million.'"