Kimberly High School students experience a glimpse of adulthood at ‘reality store’

Kimberly High School students get a taste of adulthood at reality store
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 6:26 PM CST
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KIMBERLY, Wis. (WBAY) - Students in financial literacy classes at Kimberly High School got a taste of adulthood Tuesday during their annual ‘reality store’ event. Kimberly is one of a few schools in the state that requires financial literacy as a graduation requirement. However, a bill making its way through the State Assembly could make it a requirement statewide.

This is how the ‘reality store’ works: students first choose a career path. Then they’re given a salary and are required to make decisions about their budgets and lifestyles based on their income and family status. This includes buying or renting a home, purchasing a car, and paying for daycare among other things.

Senior, Addy Slinger, has participated in the reality store all four years of high school; she says the most beneficial part of the event is learning how to manage money and understand spending habits.

“You don’t have to be the big person who like has all the fancy clothes and stuff because that’ll really knock down your payments and your budgeting,” said Slinger.

Victoria Walenta with Capital Credit Union says she sees the need for financial education, especially in high school students.

“The minute you turn 18, you start paying bills, you start building credit, you have to understand those things,” said Walenta. “Being in a financial field, we see the fall out in that when people don’t have that education, so we do need to implement that into the schools.”

Wisconsin is one of a few states that doesn’t require financial education classes for graduation. Assembly Bill 109 is trying to change that; it would require a half-credit of personal financial literacy for all high school students. Kimberly High School already requires its students to take a financial literacy course in order to graduate.

“Being someone who has been there, done that, and learned from those mistakes and then I also have kids, so I understand trying to educate children on this and getting that information out there, so the more we can pass that information on we can get that knowledge we all succeed when the children learn that.” said Walenta.