Calera students explore the cost of living
Published 1:10 pm Monday, October 26, 2015
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
CALERA— Students at Calera High School were busy with grocery lists, monthly expenses and insurance payments Oct. 23 while participating in the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce’s Keeping it Real program.
Each student in the career preparedness classes at the school was given a scenario about their family life and career. Based on their circumstances, the students created a budget for items such as housing, car insurance, car payments, clothing, groceries and other essentials.
“They don’t really know what it costs in the real world and how much insurance and how much health insurance and cars (cost),” said Calera High School teacher Dawn Bone. “It’s eye opening for them to see, ‘Oh my goodness, it is expensive.’”
In the scenarios some students were married, single, single parents or married with children. Madison Haverson was a single mom. When she compared her budget with some of her friends, she found the married people had more money to start with.
Other students realized they couldn’t spend as much money on clothing and non-essentials as they would like to.
“I learned I need to budget my money and not use it and just blow it,” said Louisa Robertson.
Another aspect of the program stressed the importance of education by illustrating that an education can provide better and higher paying jobs.
“I learned that getting a good education provides more opportunities to get a better job,” Maddie Harris said.
Volunteers from the community worked different stations around the library, such as groceries, insurance or housing, and the students had to choose different levels of each category.
Bone said it was a good exercise because many of the students don’t think about how much groceries cost.
“I learned that I had to sacrifice things because I didn’t have enough money, so I couldn’t get a TV,” Madison Mercy said. “I had to get Netflix.”
This is the chamber’s third year hosting the Keeping it Real program at Calera High School. Over the past two years, the program has visited 5,256 ninth grade students. They will visit 11 schools before the end of the 2015-2016 school year.
Although the program taught the students a hard lesson about the realities of life, Bone said the program is one of the most popular events at the school.
“Every year they say this is their favorite part of the year,” Bone said. “Even the 10th-graders who knew we were doing it this year were telling this group, ‘Oh I loved it when we did that last year. It’s so much fun.’”