Local eighth-graders got a reality check this week as Grayson County Middle School hosted its annual ‘Reality Store.’
This event gives students a look ahead and what life is like as an adult. Each eighth-grader is randomly assigned an occupation, income, and potentially a spouse and children.
They then have to use their given income to buy a car, housing, insurance, groceries, and other necessities and extras, as their budgets allow.
Community volunteers man booths where the middle schoolers go to learn just how far their budgets will allow them to go.
Steven Davis, a student who was waiting in line at the insurance booth, said of the experience, “For me, it’s been fun and crazy, but its going to help out in the real world.”
Many students were experiencing sticker shock, and some simply did not believe the prices at all. “Childcare was way too expensive,” said student Abby Crain, who was assigned two children and was paying a little over $700 per month for childcare costs. “I don’t think it actually costs this much.”
When asked if she was prepared to pay this much in real life when she has children of her own, Crain said, “No, I’ll just let my family babysit.”
Joseph Pennington said that the exercise motivated him to pursue a good-paying job when he grows up. Pennington was assigned the occupation of barber, and joked, “I didn’t get that red sports car I wanted!”
Another student, DeeDee King, felt like making ends meet was difficult, but achievable. “If you make good money and pick medium things, not expensive ones, you’ll be fine.”