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Eighth-graders learn ‘reality’ of lifestyle & budget

St. Clare Walker eighth-graders work in the Reality Store.

On March 18, St. Clare Walker Middle School’s 8th-graders participated in a Reality Store sponsored by the local 4-H Cooperative Extension Service. 

The Reality Store is an active, hands-on, real-life simulation which gives young people the opportunity to explore career opportunities and make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those adults face on a daily basis.  Participants assume that they are 25 years old and have completed basic educational requirements for their specific occupation. 

Students then draw a family situation.  Students may be married or single with no children or up to 5 children.  The participant is the sole provider of income for the family. Participants are given the opportunity to draw an occupation based on their educational plans after high school.  Their plans may include completing some type of post-secondary education, not continuing their education past high school or dropping out of high school.  They are then given the equivalent salary and proceed through the “Reality Store.” 

The goals of the Reality Store are to give youth a glimpse of their future in a fun and exciting way; help youth become aware of their need for basic skills in financial planning, goal setting, decision making, and career planning; to clarify the need for young women and men to examine their attitudes about their futures and their career aspirations; and to motivate students to stay in school, stay away from drugs, and avoid teenage pregnancy. 

Along with the Reality Store, students rotated through two other stations in order to fully understand the need for planning and career exploration.  At one station the students had the opportunity to participate in was Financial Literacy.  Members of EVB Bank, through the help of Joe Shearin, president and CEO of EVB, provided students with an excellent overview of finances.

Also, the students were given the opportunity to participate in a personal career exploration program called “VA Wizard. “ This program allowed the students to take a survey of their interests, which allowed them to explore possible careers based on their interests, and view colleges and schools that offered the education to attain the career of their choice.

“St. Clare Walker Middle School would like to thank all the volunteers, parents, members of EVB Bank, the teachers, members of the 4-H Extension Office, and the students for such a successful and awesome event,” said a school spokesperson. “We look forward to continuing to provide such wonderful opportunities, along with other great experiences for our students through our guidance office in the future.”

posted 04.21.2010

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