Local 8th grade students get a taste of reality

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Lauderdale County eighth grade students learned all about budgeting at Thursday morning’s District-Wide Reality Fair.

“The kids have a budget that they have to try to stay within, and they’re going to each table trying to find out how to budget and get the things that they need like housing, transportation, and then also fit in things that they want or would love to have like getting your hair done or buying a pet,” says Terisa Pittman, a counselor at Northeast Middle School and one of the coordinators of the Reality Fair.

Four local Federal Credit Unions were at the fair to help guide the students along.

“We like to start out with teaching them about a budget,” says Bo Pittman, the CEO at MUNA Federal Credit Union. “So how to allocate the money that they have coming in for their needed expenses verses the things that they may want like video games and TV’s, stuff like that.”

School officials say it’s important for these students to learn these concepts as early as the eighth grade.

“This is the time that they start choosing their careers and looking at what they might want to do after high school,” Terisa Pittman says. “And it’s really important for them to have an understanding of how much everything costs, so they can choose the career that they would want to live within their budget.”

The students learn a lot of new things once their experience at the fair is complete.

“When you look at having to pay for all of your expenses, it really adds up in a hurry and it’s surprising to [the students], they just haven’t been exposed to it yet,” explains Bo Pittman. “So that allows them the opportunity to kind of look into the future to see what kind of an income they need and what they’re going to need to do to support themselves.”

The four FCU’s that were present at the fair were MUNA, Meridian Mutual, 1st Mississippi, and Meridian MS Air National Guard FCU.