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The CW provides reality check for FHS students

FHS students took a chance playing the game of life Thursday, Sept. 5, but this version was a little different than the normal board game.

The East Tennessee CW station, formerly known as the WB, hosted “Reality Check,” which involved about 20 local

businesses and gave students an opportunity to learn how to manage a prospective income one day.

“Imagine the game of life done for six-hundred-and-forty students on the gym floor,” said Dan Phillippi, general manager for East Tennessee’s CW station.

“At the very beginning they are assigned a job and a family size in order to gage how much money they are going to have to make.”

From here the situation can get a little tricky, as most lives do.

With an income in hand and children to support the students start moving through 25 different stations that includes taxes and investing options, personal care, mortgage lenders, homeowners insurance, auto

dealer expenses, car insurance, phone payments and Cable/Internet payment.

Devin Taylon, 16, was given an income of $65,000 before starting her spending. She and two other friends were required to attend through a marketing class they are enrolled in.

“I’m kind of worried I don’t have enough money,” Taylon said. “I don’t want to end up bankrupt at the end.”

Students who go into debt declare bankruptcy at the end of the game and have an opportunity to take another job, but if they must declare bankruptcy at the end of their second attempt they are out of the game, said Doris Goodman, curriculum principal at FHS.

Representatives from ORNL Federal Credit Union, CBBC Bank, Rocky Top Realty and many others helped give the students an idea of the loss their pocket book could be seeing in the years to come.

Kyle Russell, 18, took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions and gain information about local schools, such as Pellissippi State Technical Community College.

“I like doing this kind of stuff, trying to see what you can do one day, what options are out there,” Russell said. “[FHS] should definitely keep doing this.”

Students and teachers started planning for “Reality Check” a year ago when CW representatives approached them with the idea, Goodman said.

“We went to Dayton, Ohio, last year to see a similar program that was put on there and we like what we saw,” Goodman said. “We thought it would be great for our students to have a reality check.”

In order to prepare students for the event organizers created a packet that included instructions and details about the process they would go through. They even reviewed the proper way to write a check because so many high school students only use a check card these days, Goodman said.

The preparation that students went through really influenced the success of the event, which brought out 650 participating FHS students.

“They’ve done a great job preparing these kids,” Phillippi said. “Students genuinely learn important life lessons and it gives local businesses the opportunity to connect with the students.”

Phillippi said the East Tennessee CW station plans to host “Reality Check” at other high schools in Knoxville throughout the year.


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