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New HMS 'Reality Fair' offers 8th graders lessons in financial literacy

New HMS 'Reality Fair' offers 8th graders lessons in financial literacy
Zachary D'Amico

A new project at Hampton Middle School this year will introduce 8th grade students to financial literacy as part of their Career Awareness course rotation.

HMS has partnered with Clearview Federal Credit Union to allow students to participate in a “Reality Fair” as a culminating project for the course. Throughout their time in the seven-week Career Awareness course rotation, students will choose a career, research, and interview for a job position. Students will rotate through a series of booths during the hands-on Reality Fair — such as transportation, housing, and entertainment — to strategically decide how to spend and save their earnings based on a predetermined salary. Each student’s salary will directly connect with their career of choice.

There will be approximately 10 booths for students to visit, including housing, transportation, insurance, entertainment, utilities, and more. After receiving training from Clearview Federal Credit Union, parent and community volunteers will staff the Reality Fair booths and assist students in making financial decisions. 

“Students are going to be faced with making life decisions, such as whether or not they are going to buy a Ford or a Mercedes at the transportation booth,” said Dr. Marlynn Lux, HMS Principal. “If they make certain choices that aren’t fiscally responsible, then they will likely reflect on those with the financial advisor at the end of the experience.”

Clearview Federal Credit Union is sending financial advisors to the Reality Fair who will consult with students after the hands-on experience as they reflect on the financial choices that they made. 

With the help of Ms. Gwen Cohen, Instructional Coach, HMS revised its curriculum over the summer to include a unit on financial literacy, in addition to the unit on career exploration. Mr. Glenn Geary and Mrs. Karen Males-Benson both teach the Career Awareness course.

The Reality Fair will take place five different times throughout the year to give all eighth-grade students an opportunity to participate when they complete the Career Awareness course rotation. Parent and community volunteers are needed to help run the Reality Fair booths. 

The dates of the Reality Fair are Monday, October 17; Monday, December 12; Wednesday, February 15; Monday, April 17; and Tuesday, June 6.