A little reality comes to Treasure Mountain | ParkRecord.com

A little reality comes to Treasure Mountain

Eighth-graders took in a dose of reality the other day at Treasure Mountain International School (TMIS). Students did everything from purchase insurance to join the Army as they tried to come out ahead in a simulated game of life during "Reality Town."

Reality Town is a program designed by R.E.A.L Curriculum to give students a feel for the economic gauntlet most adults have to endure to survive. Reality Town has become an annual tradition in Park City. Mary Klismith, TMIS counselor, looks forward to the event each year. "I love the interaction between the community members and the kids. I love to see that happen," she said.

A total of 330 students were given checkbooks and assigned careers based on their GPA; an A student, for instance, can expect a higher wage than a C student. Mock careers included astronomy, oceanography and design.

Even though they had careers and incomes, students were still required to check in with the bank and retrieve their checkbooks. The bank was the most popular stop in the gym forcing students to wait in line just to get hold of the money they had to spend. With checkbook and salary in hand, students were expected to balance their finances and satisfy their costs of living.

To simulate the bewildering maze of the life financial, school counselors, administrators and about 70 volunteers who gave up their time for the event organized booths that circled the gym at TMIS. Booths dealt insurance, homes, armed forces enrollment, groceries and virtually everything in between. Adult volunteers manned most of the booths and advised the students in regard to their expenditures and what they should buy. They also, of course, reminded them to sign their checks. Barbara Zimonja, volunteer coordinator of the Park City Rotary Club, said, "(Reality Town is a) huge learning experience for the kids probably one of the most fun volunteer things we do."

Some students learned the hard way that life can drain resources in a hurry. A simple spin of the chance wheel and students could find themselves bankrupt with a bad driving record or similar misfortune. Others learned that typical expenses, such as auto payments and mortgages can mount up in a hurry. Some students even found that they were seriously draining their resources with expenditures on simple items like entertainment and cell phones. Students even had to pay their dues to the Internal Revenue Service.

To keep track of all these transactions, students received pamphlets with check registers and itemized prices. An expensive dinner out, according to the pamphlet, could cost a student $75 while one week of camping could tally $240. For some students, the money went so fast that they found themselves joining the Army to add a little extra income, or get help with tuition.

After their day of earning and spending, students had to balance their portfolio and see where they finished. If all went well, they were supposed to gain some insight into adult world and be better prepared to manage their resources.

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