“I just got back from Central Davis Jr High in Layton, where I was interviewing students participating in Reality Town. It’s a pretty cool program. These 8th and 9th graders are given an occupation, income and family (on paper). Then they go to dozens of booths around the gym marked child care, health insurance, car insurance, mortgage, etc, and pretend like they are in the real world. A lot of girls were flocking around the clothing table, and ran out of money. Many of the kids I talked to were quite surprised at how expensive the real world is. Several of them had to go get loans from the bank table. One young man was assigned the job of news reporter, and he told me he ran out of money quickly. Welcome to the real world. Nick!
“The Reality Town program is an excellent tool to teach teens on a small scale what they have to look forward to when the NBMD closes (National Bank of Mom & Dad). This program is long overdue, and I wish I would have had something like it when I was in jr. high.” Mary Richards
LAYTON, Utah – Some junior high school students in Utah grew up fast this week, as “Reality Town” came to North Layton Junior High School.
Reality Town is an event where students are assigned an occupation and salary based on their current GPA, and they then go from booth to booth and pay for things like their housing, insurance and child care. The process of juggling work with paying bills and providing for a family was a wake-up call for some.
“We learn that life isn’t as easy as it is,” eighth grade student Britton Morrell said. “And it lets you go through the struggles that regular adults have to go through.”
The event is put on every year by faculty and dozens of volunteers to give students a better idea of what life in the real world is like and to help them understand what their parents do for them. They also hope to help kids realize the importance of continued education.
“A big thing we love is when students say things like, ‘I’m definitely going to go to college.’ Or, ‘I have decided that I need to do the next step, I’m going to be a dental hygienist instead of just, you know, a manager somewhere,’” said Lynette Nielson, a student counselor who helped with Reality Town.
Reality Town is held at several Utah junior high schools. One teacher said she thought the personalized pay stubs students received really made the experience ring true for them. The stubs had the student’s name, career, tax information, student and business loan information, spouse and number and ages of children.
“Reality Town Teaches Young People Financial Responsibilities”
On Wednesday, February 8 the YMCA worked with Mound Fort Jr. High to facilitate a ‘Reality Town’ simulation for the 9th graders. The Standard Examiner did a wonderful job capturing the reactions of the 9th graders.
In the Reality Town simulation, students make financial decisions regarding their Reality Town family and their monthly expenditures as they visit 22 different businesses that include, groceries, housing, medical office, child care, etc. Volunteers will assist students in helping students make purchases, practice their learned skills and council them in decision making. Although only a few hours students will get an idea of how they need to plan for their future to avoid some of the difficult decisions they make in the simulation. The hope is that this program will be replicated at other Ogden Jr. High’s so that more students are exposed to financial literacy and life
South Ogden eighth-graders, laugh about the careers and family they were given during the Annual Reality Town at South Ogden Junior High in South Ogden on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. Students are given jobs based on their current GPA. They are then given monthly salaries and have to purchase a home, car, insurance, healthcare, groceries, clothing, etc. based on that income. One student was a family and general practitioner, and another a pharmacist.
By RACHEL J. TROTTER
Posted: Monday, June 15, 2015 1:30 pm
By LeeNichole Marett
Each year, junior high students in Roosevelt participate in a program called Reality Town. This program is put together by the district to show students the long term effects of their decisions and help them learn good practices in their youth.
This year, Zion’s Bank donated $750 to the Duchesne County School District to benefit the Reality Town program.
“Zion’s Bank strives to be a great community partner,” said Dave Higginson, Zion’s Bank Roosevelt Branch Manager. “We have a number of things that we support, and recently we participated with the school in a little thing called Reality Town. We took this on as a project a couple of years ago. It’s a little project where the junior high kids are assigned a monthly income and then we set up around the gymnasium different necessities that they have to purchase, all the way from homes, cars, food, babysitting—a big one has become communications, which is cell phones, internet, all that other stuff—and they have to go and make informed decisions. Hopefully when they get to the end of the day, they have money in the bank instead of being overdrawn.”
Zion’s Bank is proud to sponsor the program because of the values it teaches the students, according to Higginson.
“We’ve viewed this as a program that teaches really great principals to our young people,” Higginson said. “Some of the principals are that they should work hard now to get higher grades because the amount of money they’re allocated is actually based on their GPA. ”This system of basing income on GPA helps to drive home the point for many students.