Reality Check

Preparing Students for 21st Century Skills Focus of the 2014 Reality Check Event on April 3, 2014

The University of Wisconsin-Extension Reality Check Event is an exciting part of the much larger UW-Extension Reality Check Program which partners with local school districts, parents and the community to provide all high school students with comprehensive personal finance and life skills education.  More than 230 high school students from Plum City, Durand, Pepin, River Valley, Cochrane-Fountain City, Gilmanton and Mondovi participate in the day-long, interactive event.  The event is designed to simulate one month in the life of a mid-20 year old, and is supported by more than 130 volunteers and generous in-kind donations from community partners.   

Students learn important lessons for several months prior to the event which are meant to support them as responsible and successful, community-minded young adults.   They also learn to manage a budget and checkbook, and basic principles of personal finance, including wise use of credit, budgeting, and savings.   Additionally, they learn about financial effects and quality-of-life associations between education, career, responsible sexuality, and of alcohol abuse. 

Each student researches and chooses a career that they are truly interested in, determined the education required for that career, and the cost of that education and one month’s entry-level salary.  They then calculated their paycheck withholding to determine one month’s net income to use in the event.  During the 3-hour event, students must make purchasing decisions at nearly 40 stations, manage a budget and checkbook, and make sure that they provide good care for their children. 

While this life-like simulation experience to “make ends meet” for one month is challenging and quite an eye-opener for students, it is also designed to give community volunteers opportunities to teach the students in authentic ways.  The event also is meant to be fun and exciting and to give students support, direction and confidence as they prepare for adulthood.  

Contact Mary Wood or Marie Ritscher for details at 715-672-5214.