Real world lessons delivered virtually

LENOIR, NC (April 1, 2021) — Students in eighth grade got a real-world glance at careers, financial security, and household responsibilities through an online version of the Reality Store. The experience introduced students to life choices through a simulation of outcomes created by their own career selection, living expenses, and priorities.

“We made adjustments to this annual event by delivering it through online learning so that students could explore career options and see what the future holds when a decision is made,” said Dr. Donald Phipps, Superintendent.

Approximately 1,000 eighth-graders participated in the event. First, they completed the virtual edition of the College Foundation career exploration survey, and then they chose areas of basic living needs, such as housing, transportation, banking, insurance, and communication. Because of their career choice, students were given a salary to manage basic living expenses for themselves and a family to include groceries, utilities, clothing, health, and grooming.

“We went to local business managers and recorded their sage advice and sound guidance,” said Middle School Director Anna Crookes. “The online platform was well received by all the middle schools across the district, and it provided more time for teachers to interact with students in the classroom about choices, consequences, and career paths.”

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 as adults.”

During a School Board Work Session held today, Board member Joe Sims said, “That’s probably one of the best days they’ve spent as far as life knowledge.”