Some graduates choose jobs. Some graduates choose college and some choose to be stay-at-home moms or dads. Not one realizes the cost of living in the world today.
Tri-County Electric in cooperation with the Macon County High School and Red Boiling Springs High School hosted Survivor 2002-The Real World Experience Wednesday, April 24.
Freshman students from both schools participated in the survivor version of the reality based stores.
The Reality Experience was an active, hands on, real life simulation that gave the students the opportunity to explore career choices and make lifestyle and budget decisions similar to those adults face on a daily basis.
At the beginning of the challenge each student receives a program with an Occupation and Salary based on the grade point average the student has now.
This is designed to show the student that the grades they make in high school will influence the career choice they make in the future.
Another pre-determined factor is whether you are married and the number of children you have. If you are married your spouse's salary is only $1000 per month.
An example of a career choice was a baker. This was based on a student with a D average.
The student was married with two children and earns $15,750 per year, $1,312 per month.
When the student received the program he is then required to travel to each booth. The booths are sponsored by several businesses in the area.
These booths included: Bank: Macon Bank & Trust, Clothing:Tri-County Electric, Communications: North Central Telephone, Contributions/Investments/Retirement: Cumberland Bank, Crystal Ball: MCHS Hospitality Committee, Entertainment: UT Ag Extension Service, Furniture: Gross Appliance & TV, Inc., Child Care(required if you have children): Macon County Dept. Human Service Health/Beauty: Dollar General Store, Housing: Carter Homes, LLC, Insurance: Macon County Farm Bureau, Transportation: Real Deal Auto Sales, and Utilities: Tri-County Electric.
Each student will start out with one months salary, spouse's salary, and taxes withheld. They must then begin visiting each booth beginning with housing.
If a student is unable to pay the bills the student must visit financial counseling. This booth was not available in 2001. Tammy Dixon, Tri-County, said, "We wanted the students to know where they went wrong. They needed to know if they were spending to much on cars or housing. The financial counsel booth advised them of better ways to spend their money."
Once the student had a second job and more income they could revisit certain booths to purchase additional items including cell phones or cable television.
The goals of the Reality Store was simple. It was designed to help the students envision their future, help them learn basic skills in financial planning, and goal setting. The sponsors hoped to motivate students to stay in school and pursue a higher education.
A Crystal Ball was used to show how something unexpected can happen. These were ideas such as: ER visit for a child, animal expense, car repair, or home repair. The ball only held one "lucky" item. This was $200 added on to the balance of your money.
When each student completed Survivor 2002 they had to evaluate the challenge. The post evaluation ask the students questions. They were:
Do you see a relationship between your education now and your future salary? A total of 140 at MCHS and 26 at RBSHS said yes.
After experiencing the real world, will you plan for unexpected costs? A total of 167 at MCHS and 30 at RBSHS said yes.
Were you able to save as much as you wanted? A total of 61 at MCHS and 16 at RBSHS said yes.
Several awareness questions were also ask of the students.
Several students made comments saying they didn't realize how hard it was or how tough their parents had it.
Tri-County Electric hopes that through this Survivor 2002 the students will learn to stay in school, budget their money, and make wise decisions in their adult life.
Tri-County Electric would also like to thank Carter Homes, Citizens Bank, Cumberland Bank, Dollar General Store, Gross Appliance & TV, Macon Bank and Trust, Macon County Department of Human Services, Macon County Farm Bureau, North Central Telephone, Real Deal Auto Sales, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency, UT Ag Extension Service, and Wal-mart.