Lessons in adult reality
Students learn about finances, career planning
By Teresa Duda
Waupaca High School juniors and seniors learned basic skills in financial and career planning, goal setting and decision making at the Reality Store.
Held Thursday, Nov. 12, in the high school’s gym, the Reality Store helped students examine their attitudes about their futures and career expectations.
Students met in homerooms and chose their careers. They were then told what their salaries would be, which for some was a great shock. They randomly picked the size of their families.
When they entered the Reality Store community, students were required first to pay income taxes, then put some money in their savings accounts. They purchased cars and insurance, obtained housing, paid child care if necessary, decided whether or not to acquire a pet, and bought groceries.
Officers Sam VanDinter and Bret Rodenz randomly handed out traffic tickets and students also had to go to court, judged by Dean of Students Scott VanEss. Students could pay their fines or perform “community service” such as doing pushups to avoid paying the fine.
Students could also visit the “Fate” booth and take a chance at rolling the dice. They might be rewarded with a cash bonus or lose money for random, unexpected expenses.
The goal of the Reality Store was to help students get a quick view of what life could hold for them as adults.
Some found there are things in life they have to do, even if they don’t want to. Some learned to pay for necessities first, like housing, before choosing a cellphone or a pet.
The goal is to help students realize that needs come before wants, and have them develop a better understanding of what their parents are going through in deciding how to spend their money.
The event was sponsored by the Waupaca Rotary Club and organized by Waupaca High School business education teacher Teresa Duda and Rotarians Wendy McIntee and Faye Wilson. Waupaca High School aide Christine Neumann and Principal Rob Becker worked behind the scenes. More than 50 community members volunteered to staff booths for the event.