Reality Fair

Lauren Burkholder, Journalism 1 Reporter

Nothing gives us teenagers a harsh slap back to reality than a good ol’ Reality Fair hosted by our very own high school.  That’s right, on April 25, students were given the chance to see what it would be like after they graduate high school and how they will financially be able to handle themselves in “the real world.”

Each student was given a sheet with a specified career choice that allows them to calculate their starting salaries, complete a budget sheet, and identify how they will pay for their monthly expenses (housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food).  However, many of the booths set up at the fair are filled with enticing “distractions” (Vacations, Lottery tickets, Dine-In, etc) in order to demonstrate the temptations of real life. The student’s job is to ignore these “distractions” and continue on with their “adult lives” without falling into debt.

“My goal is to get students to see that money can go very, very quickly and it’s not as easy as just putting down pencil to paper to plan,”  Staff member John Franzen said. “There are so many moving parts and components and I like this fair because it puts you guys in a real-world situation but without the real-world consequences.”

The one responsible for drawing our attention to this event was none other than the child guidance teacher herself, Miss Jackson.

“Miss Jackson reached out to me directly…and she heard through the Frisco Education Foundation that we did these reality fairs, so she reached out to me to put the schedule together,” Franzen said.  “The fair itself, even though it was sponsored by an individual credit union, in this case, InTouch, their foundation put all of this together, so all the materials were purchased and paid for by them, so there’s no cost to the school to host these.”

The results were overall pleasant and it allowed some students to see that being able to financially support themselves was strenuously more difficult than they had originally anticipated.  The end result left most of the kids thankful for the things their parents have given them and allowed them to appreciate their time as young adults.

“The things that I usually take for granted (phone, internet, TV, etc) ended up putting me in debt,” sophomore Jenna Kaufman said.

The Reality Fair overall was a success in educating our students about the responsibility of finances and budgeting.  Our staff here aspires to continue this event for future generations as well as developing our education program on money management.

“We are happy to be here,” Franzen said. “This is our third time doing this particular fair, so style is a little bit different, it’s much more realistic, so it’s training you guys right after you graduate high school, whether you go to community college, you got your bachelor’s or master’s, you don’t have to go through a live simulation to understand how real-world economic and financial literacy will come into play.”