High Schoolers Put Life To Reality Check

Wednesday, March 25th 2009, 5:13 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

PRYOR, OK -- How do you drive home the lessons of the economic recession to teenage students?  Nine area high schools teamed up on Wednesday to try to answer that question.  The News On 6 puts the Reality Check Program to a reality check.

The Reality Check event is meant to give students a glimpse into a grown-up world that's gotten a lot tougher recently.  Rogers County schools started the program last year with 350 students.  Now, its twice as big, and teachers say it's twice as important.

Amber Estes is pretending to be a single parent to one.  The 16-year-old is learning about adulthood.

"I thought I was looking forward to it, but now I'm not because I dont have that kind of money," said sophomore Amber Estes.

For a single mom, the numbers really add up.  She says raising a baby would cost more than 13,000 a year.

"I always think babies are cute and everything, but I couldn't afford my own," said sophomore Amber Estes.

Some 700 high schoolers were assigned jobs and life circumstances.  Teachers want the kids to learn about balancing a check-book and the importance of a savings account, especially in this economy.

"You'll get a total of how much it costs. It'll probably be pretty shocking for you," said Renetta Harrison with the Rogers County Health Department.

As part of this exercise, the kids get to pick their own professions. In real life, a journalist, according to the sheet, would take home about $5,000 a month.

"A lot of money is going to go in the food and eating portion. And, I want a mansion. But, I only save $3,000 a month cause I'm like a teacher. So its kind of horrible that I can't, can't spend all this money," said senior Tim Fernandez.

Financial planning in tough times is a lesson the students can take to the bank.  The event was sponsored by the Rogers County Young Entrepreneurs.  And, next year, officials are hoping to incorporate all of Mayes County high schools.