“Reality Town” came to Morgan High School on December 6th. Reality Town is a 2 to 3 hour activity, similar to the board game “Life”, the entire 10th grade participated in this annual event, which has been presented to the students and volunteers since 2002,said Emily Rose, Work Based Learning Coordinator. She said, “I think it went really well and the students gained a lot from this experience, and also learned a lot from it.”
The students filled out an “Reality Town Employment Application” that requires to be completely filled in with following information: personal information; education; employment; references; talents and hobbies, and employment desired. The applications are sent to R.E.A.L. LLC in Lehi, Utah (founders of this program) for processing. The scenarios that are assigned to each student is taken from the job application, but is mainly based on gender and (in years past ) grade point average(GPA). The GPA was not included this year on the application. Each scenario is different as is each student, Mrs Rose feels that these scenarios are scaled fairly with the GPA not a factor.
The students receive their assigned scenarios, the morning of the activity.
For instance, the scenario could be as follows: “you are 30 years old and have just moved to a new community. You need to make purchases for setting up your household. You are married and your spouse stays home and takes care of the house and children. You have one car that is paid and is used by your spouse. You need to pay $100 for gas and maintenance for this car, as well as purchase a car for you to and pay the associated gas and maintenance charges at the transportation business.”(the underlined varies as well with each scenario).
The scenario continues with the size of family; what your occupation is; what type of dress standards required; if they have health and dental insurance; how much you make; gross salary; tax information; any loans; monthly net pay and annual net salary.
They enter Reality Town aka the high school gym, and are welcomed by businesses and representatives, outlining the gymnasium floor. First stop as instructed in the student handbook “Checking & Savings Bank” to set-up a checking account where their monthly income is deposited and receive their (fake) debit card.
After the students leave the bank, they can select the other businesses to go to in any order, are instructed if they need help, to visit the Financial Counseling Office.
When completed the students were given a candy bar. Then would proceed upstairs to evaluate their experience and answer 25 questions that is also in the handbook, which ask such questions “how did your children affect your monthly budget?” and “how did your spouse’s income or lack of affect your budget/ lifestyle?”
The representatives were “volunteers from Parent Teacher Student Organization(PTSO); Morgan High School Studentbody Officers, School Board Members and Superintendent Ken Adams helped at one of the areas,” stated Robert Kilmer, the director of Career and Technology Education for Morgan School District.
This opportunity is offered to 10th grade students, with the hopes to “change their way of thinking... set goals ... plan their strategies,” continued Mr Kilmer.
Mr Kilmer commented about the program, “Its a great opportunity(for students) to see what Mom and Dad go through. It shows kids reality. A multi-facet, demonstrating the importance of setting goals, working towards those goals, and making it into reality.” He explained, we don’t always know how things are going to work out, our options may change. After this activity students can say ‘here is my reality, how do I make it work?’
Mr Kilmer has helped with the Reality Town activity for 5 years. Both Mr Kilmer and Mrs Rose credited Chris Carrigan for bringing this program to MHS.
Mrs Rose said some students thought it was a good experience. One student’s comment was to the affect “ I might have to get a third job!”
On the student handbook cover just under the title “Reality Town”, it is written,”The Experience of A Lifetime!” for the MHS students who participated it probably was.