DELAVAN — Active learning and a bit of creative budgeting were taking place this past Thursday at Delavan-Darien High School as students participating in the school’s first Financial Reality Expo did their best to make their monthly incomes stretch to cover their living expenses.
Almost all students who participated agreed it was an eye-opener when they realized how much money it takes to pay for daily living expenses. Students came to appreciate the stress involved in balancing a family budget and have gained a new respect for their caregivers.
And yes, parents and guardians, they promised to think twice before saying they need something, when in fact, the need is really a want, said DDHS Business Education Teacher Carrie Schuknecht.
“Students walked away from the expo with the knowledge that they may have to sacrifice their wants in order to afford their needs,” she added.
Students were also grateful for the opportunity to interact with community business members and volunteers at the expo. Expert advice was dispensed to those seeking it in a variety of areas, including: insurance, the cost of purchasing a home and vehicle, investments, daycare, checkbook maintenance, and balancing a budget.
“It was an excellent networking opportunity for students who are looking for part-time employment,” Schuknecht said.
One of the biggest eye-openers for students was learning about the costs of daycare. Many students reflected about how important it is to be able to provide for a family before starting one. All students who participated agreed that having children in daycare has a profound impact on the household budget, Schuknecht said.
The expo is always a hot topic of conversation after students experience it. They do walk away with a genuine appreciation of the event. In sharing their experiences with friends and teachers, students speak of the importance of saving money when they are young, not spending cash if you don’t have it, how expensive it is to live, the importance of having a budget to see where the money goes, and more.
This Reality Expo event is a part of the curriculum for all students taking Business and Personal Finance, a required class that must be taken during junior or senior year.
Students taking other business courses and the Life Skills course joined in this year’s activity, too.
Students from Elkhorn Area High School also participated in the exercise.
This Reality Expo was made possible with the support and help of local businesses and community volunteers including: Educators Credit Union, Community Bank of Delavan, Associated Bank, First National Bank and Trust, Keefe Realty, Shorewest Realtors, Kunes Country Auto Group, Staples, McDonald’s, Edwards Jones Investments, Harvestpoint, Dutton Welding & Millwright, Alli-Mc-B’s, UW-Whitewater, Sharon Gonzalez, Roxann Kelton, Mark Zugay, Gloria Esquivel, Pam Hoyord, Barb and Dave Stebnitz, Ron Nelson, Peg Stackowick, Peggy Fleck, Diane Doerr, Cheryl Kaufenberg, Mary Kennedy, Kris Klewin-Garbe, Joyce Vriezen, LuAnn Vriezen, Vince Buttita, Erin Fritzinger, Stepanie and Mackenzie Stronach, Linda Alberth, Pat Smith, Wayne and Maria Osborn, Barb Bauer, Theresa Davis, Officer Tom Reichert and Deputies Brandon Bales and Mayra Iniguez, and College and Payroll Accounting students: Cody Chelminiak, Scott Eckman, Micah Heath, Michael Hennessey, Macall Hill, Brendan Huber, Ethan Lewandowski, Lee Schramski, Cristian Torres, Vanessa Vaughn, Schuyler Williams, Lane Brinkmeyer and Margarita Rodriguez.