On August 2, 2019, several local business partners participated in a Reality Fair for Summerville Middle School students. More than 100 8th grade students went through the steps of making financial decisions as if they were entering the real world as independent adults.
Financial Reality Fairs are a practical exercise in personal financial management and help prepare students for navigating living on their own as adults.
In preparation, students chose an occupation that genuinely interested them and researched the salary. Next, they made living choices among areas like housing, transportation, food and clothing, insurance, entertainment and other categories within a realistic budget. Following their selections, students met with financial counselors who reviewed their budget results and advised them of possible changes if the students spent more money than they had available.
“We feel strongly that we have a responsibility to provide both a career preparation and financial education to our students,” said Jennifer Stephens, SMS Family and Consumer Science Teacher and FCCLA Advisor, after organizing the fair. “This Fair complements classroom studies to better prepare our youngpeople for financial success when they get out into the real world as adults.”
Local business partners who volunteered were Jennifer Tudor of Prime Reality, Kristen Croy, Anita Willingham-Smith, and Connie Langston from United Community Bank, JoAnn Carter of Harvey’s Southend Auto, and Zach White and Rebecca Brewer Thomas from the County Extension Office/4H.
The person who took the lead with this event was Jennifer Stephens. She is the new Family and Consumer Science teacher/FCCLA adviser at SMS. Her goal is to work with Kayla Hartline in building an even stronger/more substantial program for Chattooga students that begins as early as 6th grade.