Bay Port sophomores get crash course in real life
By Heather Graves
SUAMICO – As a high school student, most days are filled with math or biology classes, but for sophomores at Bay Port High School, Thursday, May 23 was spent a little differently.
Event coordinator Beth Ashmead said graduating high school, and college and being on your own can get pretty overwhelming, pretty quickly.
That’s why the students at Bay Port spent the day, with the help of more than 100 volunteers, taking part in Reality Day 2019 – a life-like simulation helping sophomores learn some basic life skills.
Organizers say 463 students took part in a simulated exercise May 23.
In the scenario, students were to imagine what their lives might look like at 30 years old.
Prior to the simulation, students completed a career cluster survey to identify potential careers that they may be interested in pursuing in their future.
Jason Berna, Bay Port AP government teacher, said students have been exploring these concepts all year in the classroom, but expanding it into a large-scale event, he said, takes the concepts to the next level.
Students started with a life status card – detailing their life, including occupation, marital status, annual salary – based on the average salary for that job – and number of dependents.
Students were responsible for managing their household incomes based on this information.
Ashmead said students went from station to station, meeting with expert volunteers who provided information on expenses and events that impact all adults – such as housing, transportation, food, clothing, utilities, taxes, child care, cellphones, cable TV and internet access.
“Students visited booths and wrote checks to cover expenses,” Ashmead said. “If they ran out of money they would need to seek financial counseling or apply for a part-time job in order to cover their expenses.”
Kait Driscoll, BMO Harris bank manager, met with students to share her wisdom on financial planning.
“This is a really great event,” Driscoll said. “The kids get a lot out of it. It’s been very rewarding being a part of it.”
Berna said the simulation is a good reality check for students.
“They finally realize how much it costs to get things in life,” Berna said. “Some of the things students have in their life now they don’t have to worry about. This gives them a better understanding and appreciation for their parents.”
The students were appreciative for the opportunity.
“(The simulation) gave exposure to real life situations,” said sophomore Alyssa Wyent. “This helped a lot and now I have more of an idea of what to expect.”
“It gave us a good visual,” said sophomore Cella Bruss. “I didn’t realize how hard (being an adult) was.”
Berna said that students also had the opportunity to vote.
“Students had to register to vote using an ID, fill out paperwork and go through the entire process,” Berna said. “The voting topics were created by the students in the AP government classes.”