Students have ‘eye-opening’ experience at Reality Fair

Superintendent Robert Crist checks off a student's budget worksheet after visiting his station.

Superintendent Robert Crist checks off a student’s budget worksheet after visiting his station.

Active learning and a bit of creative budgeting were taking place on Dec. 3 at Delavan-Darien High School as students participating in the school’s annual Financial Reality Fair Expo did their best to make their monthly incomes stretch to cover their living expenses.

Just about every student participant agreed it was an eye-opener when they realized how much money it takes to pay for daily living expenses. They 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.

“Students walked away from the expo with the knowledge that they may have to sacrifice their wants in order to afford their needs,” said DDHS Business Education teacher Jodi Scott, the event’s organizer.

Students were also grateful for the opportunity to interact with community business members and volunteers. 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 is an excellent networking opportunity for students who are looking for part-time employment, as well,” Scott 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 a variety of other lessons learned.

This event is a part of the curriculum for all students taking Personal Finance, a required class that must be taken during students’ junior or senior year. Students participating in the school’s RISE program joined in this year’s activity, too, along with peers from Elkhorn Area High School.

This event is made possible with the support and help of local businesses and community volunteers including: Victor Frasher, Educators Credit Union; Sharon Gonzalez, SPX Technologies, Denise Pieroni, City of Delavan, Dr. Crist, Ted Caucutt, Mary Kilkenny, Keefe Real Estate, Allison Cunningham, Matt Drefs, Lynette Phillips, Shorewest Realty, John Andreoni, Kunes Ford, Liz Bauman, First National Bank, Erik Pike, Mathew O’Brien, Walworth State Bank, Lisa Pohl, Ron Warrenburg, Jaime Ginner, Jeff Hahn, Hahn Law Office, Brad Grabow, State Farm Insurance, Matt and Deb Venema, Mark Zugay, Rural Mutual Insurance, Peggy Fleck, Cheryl Kaufenberg, Wendi Hembrook, Jeff Tortomasi, Linda Alberth, Pat Smith, Cindy Wuttke, Sarah Logterman, Joe Lefko, Team Industrial Services, Shelly Benzing, Lynn Dutton, Dutton Welding & Millwright, Jennifer Cunningham, Alli-Mc-B’s, Dawn Krueger, Carrie Dodge, The Stitchery, Barb Bauer, Bill Duesterbeck, Jim Pfeil, Thrivent Financial, Stephanni Stronach, Mackenzie Stronach, Andrew Slawson, Aaron Slawson, Cindy Yager, Dave Markley, Rhonda Brovold, Rita Butke, McDonald’s, and Accounting students: Brody Cunningham, John Loomer, Madison Stronach, Rodrigo Mendoza, Chris Aguilar, Carlos Gomez, Macie Hill, Alonzo Ortiz, Jacob Scheff, Maggie Sirkman, Mia Villareal, and Jessica Walter.

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