Stacy Hrna, the business principles teacher at Collegiate High School, created a project to help the graduating seniors know what to look forward to in adult life.
“I wanted them to be more innovative while learning, and not just give them information and have them be done with the project and not learn from it,” Hrna said.
Last year, the Coastal Credit Union held a Reality Fair for Collegiate High School students in the Retama Room of the Harvin Center. The fair itself was efficient with great starting information. However, it still didn’t feel real enough for Hrna.
Hrna’s project takes place over nine weeks with each week representing a month. Each week students are required to find actual available jobs, apartments, do taxes, deal with real-life scenarios and create a budget system.
Student are allowed to choose how they will based off the information they gather, their relationship status, and where they choose to live, or must live. At the beginning of the first week students are given a FICO credit score. Students stick their hands into a bag and pull out the magic number.
“I got an 820; the highest you can get is an 850. I am very happy,” said Student Council President Rachel Ford.
The students are learning how these scores affect their everyday life. Students, based on what they have already, such as a roommate, spouse or car, will also pick weekly scenarios from a bag.
Ford, whose scenario affected her and her roommate in this case, pulled out a card from the bag dealing with all her electronics in her apartment being burglarized. What these means is that now Ford has to research and see what she has to do now with this scenario.
Another helpful way for students to learn about life is through speakers. The speakers range from Coastal Community Credit Union personnel to apartment managers to talk about housing.
Leanne Mulholland, a vice president with the credit union, has worked closely with Collegiate High School throughout the years, and had even asked Hrna for feedback on the credit union’s Reality Fair last year. She spoke to the senior class about savings accounts, credit cards and debit cards, how to check your credit, identity theft, falling into debt and how to get out.
“It is never too early for students to learn about money, credit scores, and to be aware about how to get out of debt,” said Mulholland, who added that it is crucial for students to understand the importance of saving money and money management.