In collaboration with Wings Financial Credit Union, Burnsville High School (BHS) students received a reality check through a life simulation event on May 17.
When students arrived to the event, they randomly received an occupation and then had to figure out how to survive based on their job’s designated salary. Each student was assigned a credit score, required to find housing and transportation, and pay for all their expenses, including rent, transportation, food and insurance.
There was even a “fate wheel” for students to spin if they were willing to take a risk to help with their circumstances. The wheel did include some unlucky prizes, however. Students were not excited when the wheel ticker stopped on a spot requiring them to withdraw money from their bank account to pay for an unexpected expense.
“Many of the students found out that they would have to sacrifice something in order to pay their bills and have a positive balance,” said business education teacher Meggan Malone. “As you looked around, students faces were filled with frustration or elation depending on their specific scenario.”
BHS senior Callie Gudmonson commented, “The fair made me think about aspects of my budget that I wouldn't have normally considered.” Per Olson, also a senior, said “The Reality Fair made me realize that the best part of being a kid is not paying bills.”
This was the second year working with Wings Financial on this event. Trysh Olson, education and youth programs manager at Wings Financial, worked with the students a day before the event to prep them on their budget sheets and help them get started. Volunteers working the different stations, such as the Savings & Investments and Housing stations, were from Wings Financial, which also provided all the working materials and scenarios for students.
“The Reality Fair was designed to provide a ‘real life’ simulation for high school students to practice budgeting and make financial choices based on their life scenario,” said Olson. “This was a hands-on experience for students that engaged them in the budgeting and financial decision making process.”
Olson added, “Wings Financial Credit Union believes strongly in the value of financial education and providing students with the resources and tools necessary to become financially independent in the future.”