"We hope it inspires (students) to become what they hope to be in the future," said Troy Greenlee with Greencastle Middle School.
The middle-school students arrived at the "store" with a checkbook and their gross monthly salary. They then pay taxes, utilities, housing and medical costs. They roll the dice to find out how many children they have and visit each "booth" to pay for food, transportation and insurance.
The goal of the Reality Experience is to get the teens thinking about their futures and career plan. it demonstrates the "reality" of monthly living expenses, budgeting and the financial impact of unexpected events. Additionally, it stresses the value of education in being able to obtain a well-paying job.
"Education is important to get where you want to go in life," said Greenlee.
Along the reality journey, students visited the wheel of chance, where they might win the lottery or lose money due to house fire or car repairs. It may also send them to the legal representatives with issues like breaking a lease and possibly being sued or will preparation.
Before experiencing reality, students envision their life in their mid- 20s and choose an occupation without knowing the salary. They learn to use a checkbook by entering deposits and withdrawals. When they arrive, they learn the annual salary and work from a gross monthly income.
With calculators in hand, the eighth graders make the rounds of booths manned by volunteers and discover how expensive life really is. At the end, all students vote on a topic. This year, the topic asked students what form of discipline would be most effective to prevent them from using drugs or alcohol.
The Reality Experience is an annual, hands-on project for all Putnam County eighth graders. Originally designed and run by the Business and Professional Women's organization, the local service clubs of Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary with Circle K, Kappa Delta Phi, Delta Theta Tau and many other volunteers have joined together to bring this reality experience to the eighth-grade youth of Putnam County.