CHHS keeps it real with the GSCCC

Chelsea High School students work to incorporate insurance into real-world budgets during the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce's "Keeping it Real" program on March 12. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Chelsea High School students work to incorporate insurance into real-world budgets during the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s “Keeping it Real” program on March 12. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

CHELSEA—Students at Chelsea High School got a taste of the real world with the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s “Keeping it Real” program on March 11 and 12.

Sponsored by Legacy Community Federal Credit Union, the two-day program is designed to get high schoolers thinking about the future through real-life budgeting exercises.

During the first day of the program, students learn about the importance of education when entering the workforce.

“For 85 percent of the jobs in the U.S., you need a high school diploma and job training (or a two year or four year) degree,” GSCCC Director of Community and Workforce Development Keyla Handley said. “Things (they) do today make them a better employee tomorrow.”

During the second day of the program, students get to try their hand at balancing expenses with an income.

Each student is assigned a job, level of education, marital status and number of children. Given their life situation, the students must make decisions on expenses such as housing, cars, clothing and extras such as internet and cellphones.

“If you think your budget is tight, think of the way you use things,” Gina Cannady, with Legacy Community Federal Credit Union, advised students. “Do you use a laptop for internet or do you use a tablet or cellphone for internet?”

Students could also invest in themselves through education in order to gain more income.

“(It shows them) how your decisions impact your finances, and how your finances impact your decisions as well,” Cannady said.

Through the program, students learned the importance of education, saving and planning ahead.

“We’re learning a lot about our lives and everything, and how much things cost,” CHHS sophomore Jake McConnell said, noting he chose to invest in education. “I wanted to get a little more education… it helped a lot.”

Junior Daniel Barnette said he was surprised at how much necessities, such as groceries, cost.
“Spend your money wisely,” Barnette said. “Don’t get the most expensive thing just to look good, just get what fits you.”