Pequot Lakes High School seniors got a glimpse of life beyond high school Friday, Feb. 14, by participating in the school’s eighth annual Reality Store in the auxiliary gym.
Representatives from 30 Pequot Lakes area businesses volunteered to help seniors receive a dose of reality regarding the obligations they’ll encounter after high school. Seniors visited the various businesses to buy mock products and pay for services.
“They are getting a dose of what real life is like beyond high school, where they get to choose a career path that they intend to go in, and their monthly salary of that intended career, and then they have to walk around and make all those purchases that we deal with all the time,” said Tracy Tschida, high school social studies teacher and Reality Store organizer.
“They’re buying cars and buying a house and paying for insurance and day care, and fate is getting in the way,” she said.
A computer program randomly assigned each student as being married, single or divorce, as well as their number of children and their ages.
“We are going on the premise that we are out of high school approximately 12 years,” Tschida said.
Student Rusty Blank learned how expensive children are. He started the day with one child and upon learning he had twin girls, he pushed a double stroller around the gym.
“Kids are expensive,” Blank said. “They keep crying and eating and pooping.”
Classmate Grant Moe was tasked with buying tickets for four friends to return from Europe.
“A rich friend — a dentist — upfront paid for all of it and it was amazing,” Moe said.
Ellie Buschmann also bemoaned her money woes after finding out fate was handing her a ticket for driving 30 mph over the speed limit to the tune of $285.
“It’s frustrating,” she said of money. “It’s the biggest issue because you think you have it. We don’t pay rent at this age.”
Tschida said a goal of the Reality Store is to teach students the costs they’ll encounter.
“Not many truly know how much day care and insurance costs,” she said, noting the goal is to make them aware that in a few short months these are possible expenses.
Nancy Vogt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @PEJ_Nancy.