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GCMS seventh graders step into the real world

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By Camille McClanahan

Seventh graders at Grant County Middle School stepped into to their parent’s shoes on May 13 at the Reality Store.

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The GCMS gym was buzzing with chatter as students moved from table to table opening a make-believe checking account. Students learned how to write checks and balance their accounts. At this point, it was all on them: the cost of food, shelter and a car, including upkeep, taxes, insurances, etc. They were responsible to pay for the necessities of life, right down to their haircuts and toiletries.

They received counsel from local real estate brokers, insurance agents, bankers and social services representatives. Other booths were staffed with volunteers from churches, the 4-H council and a Northern Kentucky University Grant County Center student loans representative. There were people representing communications, entertainment, health and grooming, child care, mental and dental health, property taxes, food, clothing and transportation. Lastly, there was an office of S.O.S. (Supplemental income) just in case, as in life, students couldn’t quite stretch their dollars to cover all their expenses.

“I learned that kids are a real big hassel and that it costs a whole bunch just to keep them alive,” student Dylan Stacy said. “Some kids are mean to their parents, and they should help out their parents instead of asking their parents for everything they want, especially when their parents don’t have that good of a job.”

“The event was designed to give youth a glimpse of the future in a fun and exciting way,” Joyce Doyle, event organizer and extension agent for 4-H and youth development said.

On a deeper level, volunteers hoped that youth would become aware of their need for basic skills in financial planning, goal setting, decision making and career planning, while seriously examining their attitudes and career aspirations, Doyle said.