About 200 students from Delavan-Darien High School and Elkhorn Area High School will take part in a “Reality Fair” from 8 a.m. until noon, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, at DDHS.
Business Education faculty at DDHS are coordinating the event, which will give students a perspective on what life is like after high school.
“Life can be tough. There are bills to pay and day-to-day challenges to solve that many students have never even considered,” said DDHS business teacher Carrie Schuknecht. “We hope that holding this event with the new Personal Finance graduation requirement will help to make real-life connections for our students.”
Students are surveyed prior to the event about their thoughts on the costs of living, such as rent, food, college loans, insurance, gasoline and the like.
Students must then specify their intended job or career, and are assigned family situations.
Each student is also assigned a credit score and monthly salary to “live” on during the fair. By the end of the experience, the objective is to have a greater-than-zero balance in the “bank.”
“We encourage students to be honest about their future plans. Some just say they’ll be doctors or lawyers, feeling that these are high-paying jobs, and they are, but there are also steep college loans associated with those careers. Students are given that debt and other debts, too,” Schuknecht said.
During the fair, students go from station to station, which represent different aspects of American life, including such things as transportation, insurance, utilities, housing, childcare, unforeseen or “fate” events, and others.
They are given different scenarios, including costs, at each station. Some may have serious health issues, or have costly home repairs, or have to pay for daycare.
As students go station-to-station, they keep a running balance in a checkbook provided by event sponsor, Educators Credit Union.
“Many students start these activities with the idea that ‘they know all of this,’ and that ‘it will be easy,’” Schuknecht said. “Students quickly find that it is more challenging than they would have believed. It allows them see the reality of personal finance.”
As in life, students might not always get what they want, but they certainly do get a lesson in real life at the Delavan-Darien Reality Fair.
VOLUNTEER: You Can Help!
Care to volunteer for the fair by managing a booth? Contact DDHS business education teacher Carrie Schuknect at 262-728-2642 ext. 4430, or via email at