CHMS seventh-graders get a taste of reality
Seventh-graders Haley McCormick, Katie Hayes and Sarah Menza go over their figures on cars and insurance needs. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 4, 2012 10:35AM
Seventh-graders at Clarendon Hills Middle School got what for many was a somewhat shocking look at their futures Friday during the school’s Reality Fair.
Students spent about a month researching the costs of living as a young adult and with the help of financial planners, came up with budgeting strategies.
Students completed an online aptitude survey and were able to choose a career that was among the top three suggested by the survey. They sought out information about salaries for their chosen job and used that in their budgeting process.
“It’s about the reality of what life is like,” said Vicky Freiberg, a social studies and language arts teacher at CHMS. “This is an opportunity for students to learn about different careers, but we take it beyond that. The reality was very surprising to many students. One of the options was for them to live at home, and many of them weren’t liking that.”
Research and guidance was completed prior to Friday’s Reality Fair. During that event, students used their budget sheets to make major budget choices such as renting or buying for housing, purchasing a vehicle, buying food, paying for gasoline and utilities, and securing home and auto insurance.
“In order to make the experience more realistic, we have real estate agents, insurance agents and auto dealers providing accurate information and calculations, and product options for our students,” said Mario Castillo, a CHMS social studies teacher. “They go home with a sense of appreciation for what they have.”
Seventh-grader Lauren Vaikutis, who researched a job as a management analysis, said she was most surprised by the cost of food.
“Groceries are really expensive for one person,” she said. “You really have to use the money you earn very wisely.”
Sebastian Chung, another seventh-grader, said he researched being an airplane pilot after the online aptitude survey suggested that vocation for him.
“I would choose to be a private pilot because they get paid more, but I would never be a pilot because I fall asleep a lot when I’m on planes.”
Sebastian also said he was surprised by how much it costs to live, based on his research.
“There are so many fees,” he said. “It’s costs a lot to live, and learning about this makes you re-think things. Learning this now makes me feel grown up.”