OMHS students learn about real-world expenses

Published 3:40 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2018

NORTH SHELBY – Oak Mountain High School students got a taste of life on their own during the Keeping it Real program Oct. 25-26.

The life skills program is hosted in schools around Shelby County by the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.

During the first day of the program, the students were shown a presentation about traits of preferable employees, including being on time and exercising discretion with social media.

Students were also urged to consider what they are passionate about and envision their life beyond high school.

Then, on the second day, students learned lessons about budgeting and managing expenses.

About 450 ninth grade students in career prep classes filed through the school’s practice gymnasium throughout the day. They had randomly drawn work sheets the day before that detailed their career, career training, annual gross income, monthly gross income, marital status, spouse’s employment and income and children.

The students calculated what they would pay in taxes and then visited each booth set up in the school’s practice gymnasium to determine how much they would owe for expenses including housing, transportation, insurance, child care, utilities, groceries, clothing, education and “just for fun.”

The expenses were often tailored to each student’s specific situation. For example, child care was not required if one spouse in the scenario did not work; also, the cost was based on the age of the children and a 10-percent discount was factored in for additional children.

The program is presented as part of the GSCCC Shelby One Next Level Up Workforce Readiness Initiative, and volunteers from across Shelby County manned the booths, often aligned with their career fields.

“It allows the students to meet business people and interact with them,” said Keyla Handley with the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.

Lexie Henson said her scenario was a married bill collector with a 2-year-old son.

“We both work,” Henson said. “It was quite expensive. I wanted to buy a home, and instead I had to rent.”

Devon Sapp, meanwhile, had two children cared for by a stay-at-home mom.

“I had to downgrade to a not as good car,” said Sapp, who settled for a Volkswagen Passat though he preferred a Chevrolet Camaro. “Everything was more expensive than I thought. I have five brothers and two sisters, so I feel really bad for my parents. It’s a lot of money.”