WURTLAND, Ky. — Seventh graders from the middle schools in Greenup County had more than a reality check on Thursday, they experienced it first hand. Hosted by and at the Greenup County Extension Office, The Reality Store is being held Dec. 11-12.
Russell Middle School students attended the 9 a.m. session on Thursday and Raceland attended the 12:15 p.m. session on Thursday. Wurtland Middle will participate at the 9 a.m. session on Friday, and McKell attending the 12:15p.m. session on Friday.
Aaron Boyd, Greenup County 4-H coordinator, said the Reality Store begins with the schools who determine what job the students will have.
“We have the Reality Store going on, and this is for all of the seventh graders in Greenup County that come through this. This schools will give the students the prep work, and they will assign them a job,” Boyd said. Sometimes some of the schools base it on grade point average, some of them based it on their IEP, which is the individualized education plan, so the school sets the standard for each job the students receive.
As a part of the Reality Store experience, the students are given a one-month salary, and have to visit each of the booths.
“After they are given a salary they have to go to each of these places and purchase things, like a house, or insurance, and buy utilities, things such as that,” he said. “They have to pay taxes, they buy clothing, pay child care, and child care is the big one, because a lot of them have about three or four kids and they have to figure out how to pay child care when they are almost out of money.”
Learning the banking process is another dimension for students at the Reality Store.
In addition to learning how to manage their finances, students learn to make contributions to charity, buy clothing, furniture.
“This is really designed to be an eye opener for them. They come through this and they realize that it is tough, and that if they don’t have a decent job, and study and work hard it is going to be even more rough for them,” he said. “I had a student to ask me this morning, “Is life really this hard?”
The local businesses participating in this year’s Reality Store are the Greenup Farm Bureau, American Electric Power, The Greenup County Health Department, The PVA Office, People’s Bank and First and People’s Bank, and volunteers from the board of the The McConnell House.
“The Greenup County Extension Office puts this on. I work with the 4-H volunteers, and a number of people here in the office that help to make this possible.
Katie McKenzie, seventh grader at Raceland Middle School, said she enjoyed participating in the Reality Store.
“This has been a lot of fun, you get to see what it is like to take care of bills, and handle money,” McKenzie said. “I plan on going into the Air force, and then going to college. I think this will help me to be prepared, and learn to make wise decisions about money.”
Jacob Strosnider also a seventh grader at Raceland Middle School, said he learned that paying bills can be very stressful.
“We’ve learned to do things like pay utilities, and buy cars and pay insurance. This has been kind of stressful, because I don’t have that much money left, and I still have a couple things to pay,” Strosnider said. “I think this will teach me to buy stuff wisely, and to learn to save money, and not to spend it all at once.”
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.