Page High Gives Students a Glimpse Into the Real World

Submitted by Valorie Twyford. Article by Jennifer Rae Palmer, Lake Powell Chronicle

Page High School students got a “Reality Check” Feb. 16. More than 150 PHS students participated in the event. The Career and Technical Education department designed the event in order to give students an idea of what life might be like after high school. Students were assigned an occupation and given a realistic salary based on the current salary reports for that occupation.

The students then determined their monthly gross income and toured the mini city set up in PHS’s Pool Gym. Each station represented a necessary expenditure. For example, students had to find a home first. They had the option to rent or buy. Then, students picked out a vehicle. They could opt for a luxury vehicle with a high monthly payment, or a used vehicle with a lower monthly payment. They weren’t allowed to move to the next station until they had car insurance.

“The goal of this exercise is to help students realize the need for them to examine their attitudes about their future and their career expectations, as well as motivate students to stay in school, stay away from drugs and avoid teenage pregnancy,” CTE Program Coordinator Michael Twyford said in a press release.

Students also had to pay for utilities, groceries, medical expenses, entertainment and other necessities. If the student visited every table and wound up in debt, the student had to complete the exercise again until the student could afford the choices he or she made.

Additionally, each student was asked to pick up a “chance” card to account for life’s unexpected expenses. Michael Herrera, a senior, said he had about $40 left over when he finished touring the mini city. He was assigned the occupation of college professor and was told he was a single parent with two children.

“That really changed my perspective,” Herrera said. “I’ll bet it opened a lot of people’s eyes today.”

He said he plans to have children when he grows up, but had never thought about how much kids cost. He said the exercise taught him a lot about budgeting, as he needed to set aside funds for his children’s clothing, medical expenses and day care.

“Students will relate to this project and hopefully discover the value of making good educational and financial choices that will affect their future,” Twyford said.

CTE partnered with the Coconino Association for Vocations, Industry and Technology, the Coconino County Career Center and several local volunteers on the event.