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Reality Check for 8th Graders at the Reality Store

LENOIR, NC (May 2, 2019) — Students in eighth grade are thinking about careers, financial security, and household responsibilities, topics reserved typically for young adults, but during the Reality Store, students walk through a simulation of outcomes introduced by their own career choices, expenditures, and goals in life.

“This is an interactive experience for every eighth-grade student to explore career options and to see what the future holds when a decision is made,” said Dr. Donald Phipps, Superintendent.

Middle school students face real-world scenarios at the Reality Store, when teachers, community and business volunteers, as well as high school students, are assigned to different stations that represent banking, transportation, housing, family, or other areas that may affect financial stability. Students draw a salary based on a specific career and manage basic living expenses for themselves and a family.

Phipps said, “During the exercise, students get an unexpected life event, and they must discover whether their occupation provides the financial security needed in order to sustain the lifestyle they want. Even the best-laid plans sometimes go awry. Students are then required to reevaluate their situation and to find the best solution – just like real-world financial problem solving.”

The Reality Store is an annual event sponsored by Communities in Schools in partnership with the Caldwell County Schools.