The Reality Fair: Making Ends Meet in the Real World

Cynthia Whitty
Issue Date: 
July, 2019
Article Body: 

The Reality Fair at Ashland High School was held on the morning of May 24. The purpose of the event was to teach the graduating seniors about financial literacy and budgeting and give them a sense of the financial obligations they will have once they enter the workforce.
The students selected a career and received a monthly paycheck along with a credit-score. They then worked their way from booth to booth to rent an apartment (either in Boston or Framingham), obtain transportation; set up insurance (rental, auto, and health), purchase clothing, food, and furniture, make retirement contributions, determine monthly payments for student loans, save for retirement, and if they had funds left over, purchase luxuries.
In the end, each student sat with a budget counselor, to go over their budget and see if it balanced. Overall, students had positive feedback about the event and felt it was beneficial in teaching them how to make ends meet in the real world.
The event was organized by the Ashland High School Student Council Exec Board, led by Carolyn Klepper (president), with assistance from Ken Erdelt and Phil Reimann of the Framingham Rotary, and staffed by approximately 50 community volunteers, many of whom were experts in their fields (realtors and insurance agents, for example). Several members from the Ashland Business Association participated.
The Reality Fair will be held again next year, organizers said.