Helena freshmen learn how to handle finances at ‘Keeping it Real’

By FAITH CALLENS | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – On Friday, Feb. 28, Helena High School’s faculty and staff partnered with The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce to bring their seventh annual “Keeping it Real” program to the school’s media center.

The program acted as an educational booster for freshman students who got the opportunity to learn exactly what it could cost to live in the adult world.

The program was held over a two day period.

On the first day, Pari Barzegari , a member from the chamber of commerce, came out and spoke to the students to make them aware of their big “high school” life transformation to prepare for the for the next day.

“Yesterday I came in and spoke to the students in their classrooms and went over a lot of information about what we were going to have for today, gave them their new life and their budget sheet,” Barzegari said. “Then today, we let them loose to the 12 stations where they are able to get transportation, buy a car, a home and think about their new life scenarios.”

According to Barzegari , who is the manager of community and career development, said 350 freshman students received a chance to attend the event.

Each freshman class received an hour to go around to each station and pick different scenarios to fit their life.

According to Shelby County’s commerce director, Kirk Mancer, the “Keeping it Real” program is also designed to make students realize that a good education is the key to make their future significantly better.

Several students talked among themselves about the event and what lifestyle choices they made throughout the day.

“I’ve had a pretty good time, it’s better than doing anything else in class, and that’s just one thing. I had a good time being with my friends and being able to do all this,” Helena student Ryan Rosner said. “Some of the skills that I learned today were how to save my money, how to get a second job and how buy to a house. It really taught me how that saving is key.”

Helena’s Assistant Principal Jennifer Lowe believes the “Keeping it Real” program was a great opportunity for the school’s freshman students to get financial literacy skills to better their future.

Lowe hopes that students can take home the skills they learned and could possibly put them to use.