MMS Reality Store Leaves Impression

Posted on 11/19/2021

MMS Reality Store Leaves Huge Impact on Students
By: Christine Harper

            Twelve years ago the “Reality Store” left its first impression on students at MMS.  This is the 12th year that the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce and the Mexico Middle School have teamed up to provide “The Reality Store” to the 8th graders at MMS.  Except for 2020, the Reality Store has been going strong and leaving many impressions on our students.  The Reality Store has provided 8th graders with a reality-based, decision-making experience addressing individual and family budgeting.  A goal of the Reality Store is for students to have the opportunity to see how important it is to finish high school and learn what it will take to be a self-sufficient adult.

            Like so many years prior, the students received eye-opening information about “real life.”  The counselors at MMS, Amiee Basse and Suzanne Evans, said that most students did not realize the cost of living.  After surveying the students, the counselors said that the response was very positive.  The students were happy to go through the simulation because it helped them understand all of the different expenses there are as an adult.  Many of the students said they wanted to go to a trade school or to a four-year college, after doing the simulation.  Even after going through the simulation, many of the 8th grade teachers spent the rest of the day talking with their students about what they learned and how to process the information they were given.  The counselors also noted that “many parents find this simulation really helpful and a great opportunity for their child.”

            This year’s Reality Store took place on November 4th at MMS.  There were 189 8th graders and 195 9th graders that came through the store.  There were 58 business people that helped make the store a success, including United Credit Union who provided lunch for the community volunteers and MACC who provided shirts and pencils for all of the students..  Before the students go through the Reality Store, they are given a job, their income, their marital status, number of children (if any) and then complete a Monthly Net Income sheet.  The students then go through the Reality Store where they buy a house (loans), set up utilities, buy a car (more loans), set up insurance (home, auto, etc), learn about property tax, buy groceries, clothing, daycare (if needed), everything down to budgeting for savings and entertainment.  It is definitely a positive experience giving the students a little taste into what their future might look like. 

            When we talk about preparing kids for real life, this Reality Store does just that. It definitely gives students something to think about as they start to prepare for high school and life beyond.  Mexico Public Schools is so fortunate to have a community so willing to give of their time and knowledge to help our students prepare for their future.