A Dose of Reality

A Dose of Reality
Posted on 11/07/2018
From MMS Principal, Mrs. Deb Haag

#MakingMindsStronger is a mission that has a lot of implications.  One of those implications is the need to help students start thinking about their future.  It is our hope that while students are at Mexico Middle School, we can help plant seeds of possible career choices as well as what it means to be a good community member.  One of the ways we do this is by giving them a dose of reality!

On Thursday, November 8, members of the community will join together to host a life simulation for our students called The Reality Store.  Each MMS 8th grade student will receive a fictitious life that includes their job and salary, if they are married and if their significant other has a job as well as how many kids they have.  Students could be a doctor, engineer, teacher, mechanic, janitor, or an assundry of other jobs.  Before the life simulation itself, students will learn about the impact of a high school diploma as well as the importance of after high school training and/or schooling.  This coupled with the explanation of taxes, and the big difference between salary and take home pay, is when reality begins to trickle into existence.  

When students walk in the gym on Thursday, students will be greeted by Mexico realtors, car salesmen, city and county employees, insurance agents, financial institutions, utility employees, and retired teachers.  Their first task for the day will be to purchase a house and a car for every adult in the house.  These choices are critical because their payments must fit in the budget of their take home pay.   Each of them must go to the bank for a home loan which must be approved. Students must purchase insurance, of course, in case of a house fire, tornado, or accident.  This is when reality really starts to kick in and students who have lower paying jobs start to panic about the new full size truck they purchased as opposed to the smaller four-door, fuel efficient car that they should have purchased because gas is also coming out of their budget.  

 After housing and transportation are secured, students must get health insurance and child care.  This is when students start thinking it might be time to get a second job.  Unfortunately, those are limited and they must go through the application process, which does not guarantee additional employment. Other students seem to be sailing through reality until the additional items come in like cell phones, pets, YMCA memberships, and child care; child care can get really expensive the more kids you have.  They also have to give back to a charity of their choice.  

In the end, we work with students and help them live within the means of their career and family situation.  We often hear comments like, “I had no idea this is what my parents have to do,” or “Wow, no wonder my parent makes a big deal about my cell phone.”   We also find that students have many “aha” moments in regards to the importance of having a career that makes them happy and meets their perceived needs.  It is an amazing day supported by our amazing community in which a dose of reality is part of #MakingMindsStronger for all of our 8th graders!