April 23—SUMMIT—Students at Boyd County Middle School got a taste of what their future might look like during the school’s annual Reality Store and educational event held through a partnership with Boyd County 4H.
Youth services center coordinator Traci Caldwell said 4H brings in volunteers and sets up tables that each student visits to get a taste of how their job now will affect their financial future after graduation. “It’s for eighth graders only, and it’s to teach them real-life situations,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell said each student begins by visiting the guidance counselor where they receive a card based on their current GPA at school.
“It shows them how much money they’re going to make in the real world,” Caldwell said.
Next, students visit tables where they find out how much they will be expected to spend on groceries, insurance, internet, cell phones, vehicles, as well as expenses such as children and child care.
“That includes things like mortgages, taxes and all the ‘fun’ things in life,” Caldwell said with a laugh.
“After all this, they will see how much money they have left,” she said. “Or if they have any money left.”
Boyd County 4H Youth Development Officer Becky Stahler said the 4H Reality Store lets eighth graders look at life at age 25 and how much that life will cost them versus what they’ll be able to. to win.
“They have a real job and a real salary, but they have to qualify for that salary based on their GPA,” Stahler said. “Students go to their advisors and tell them their dream job, then the grades say if they’re qualified for those jobs, and if they don’t qualify, the advisors help them figure out what they’re qualified for. to do and the salary they can expect to receive.”
Stahler said dream “jobs” can be in any field, whether degree-based or trade-based, but the student must qualify. And a big factor in potential income versus expenses, she said, ends up being how many children the student has in the hypothetical “real” world.
“And the number of children is determined randomly, from one to three children,” Stahler said. “And childcare is a real math.”
The service must be paid for and it cannot be assumed that grandparents or other family members would provide these services for free.
Student Ethan Crum said he was considering a career as an equine vet. He has been involved with 4H for some time and is used to going to these types of events.
“I think the Reality Store will help everyone and give them a taste of what the real world is like,” Crum said. The cost that surprised him the most, he said, was insurance — and the different types of insurance he would have to carry. Crum also said the experience will help him pay more attention to expenses incurred while traveling to show horses in Ohio and West Virginia.
Laura Grace Chaffin, also a student at Boyd County Middle School, said she wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer. She said her coach at school was a role model and she was a lawyer, so she became interested in that field.
“I was very surprised at how much things cost,” Chaffin said. “Because I don’t have enough money to buy groceries!” she laughed after finishing the visits to the tables representing bills and costs. “I will have to work hard, go to school and earn money, because life is very expensive.”
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