MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Lauderdale County School District held its annual Reality Fair at Meridian Community College Friday. 8th graders learned how to manage their finances- a skill they'll all need to master after graduation.
“I hope this teaches them to be responsible for their money, learn how that they need to budget their money out, and how to use their money wisely.” says Debbie Smith, the President and CEO of Meridian Mutual Federal Credit Union.
Officials say it is important for students to understand that there are more expenses in life than just buying things you want. The reality fair also taught the kids the difference between gross and net pay: “When somebody says you make ten dollars an hour, you don’t keep all of that, there are taxes and other things that come out of it so you have to be aware of what you’re actually taking home and how to spread that money out to ensure that you have housing, and groceries, and things.” explains Bo Pittman, the President and CEO of MUNA Federal Credit Union.
Students, like Clarkdale Middle School's Raylee Pickard, say the event was fun and informative, “It’s pretty cool, it’s giving me a taste of how much everything costs. I didn’t think it costs this much, but it does.” she says.
Teaching students the in's and out's of budgeting at an early age will give them more time to plan and prepare for the "post-graduation real world."
“A lot of them are starting to work in the ninth grade, to be able to provide for themselves, whether it be a car, or entertainment, or whatever so we just think the earliest you get them started, the better off it will be.” says Kevin Cheatham, the Director of Career and Technical Education for Lauderdale County schools.
MUNA Federal Credit Union and Meridian Mutual Federal Credit Union had teamed up with the Lauderdale County School District to help put on this event for all Lauderdale County middle schools.