KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Ketchikan High School’s annual “Financial Reality Fair” began on Tuesday morning and will continue through mid-morning on Wednesday.
The fair is an event hosted by Tongass Federal Credit Union in partnership with Financial Reality Fair, a financial readiness program for high school seniors in Southeast Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands.
“The program is an event specifically designed for high school seniors to experience real-life budgeting in a fun, hands-on way that models what it is like in the real world,” stated the organization’s website.
On Tuesday, the fair was held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Kayhi auxiliary gymnasium. Representatives from TFCU and other community organizations set up tables, each laden with prompts for students to “design” their future life — participants were able to choose a career and were assigned income, family living arrangements and other details of their life before starting their trip through the fair.
“Then they have to visit all of these different themed tables and buy a house, buy a car, see what their entertainment package is going to be, … basically all of the main things that you would need to figure out in a budget,” Daina White of TFCU explained to the Daily News before the fair’s Tuesday morning opening.
The tables — each overseen by a volunteer — prompt the participants to design and reconfigure a working budget as they progress through a simulated “life” after school.
The final table features the “wheel of reality,” which students spin to receive an unknown life event that will affect their new budget.
“Basically, anything good or bad could happen, which is also a part of life,” White said about the wheel. “You could get a bonus at work or you could accidentally break a leg and have an extra medical bill. And of course that could really change up your whole budget.”
“It’s just a really good way to break things down before they actually graduate,” White said.
The Financial Reality Fair is open for all Kayhi seniors.