A Senior Week event takes them through the expenses of adult life, letting them make choices and see their costs.

Visions employees at the Reality Fair

Reading High School students got a crash course in life this week.

Hundreds of seniors participated in the Financial Reality Fair during Reading High's Senior Week.

Other events included writing cards to sick children, a blood drive, planning for a Mini-THON, learning about scholarships, learning about post-secondary opportunities and financial literacy.

Eight credit unions - Visions, Bellco, Sun, Discovery, Diamond, Utilities Employees, Riverfront and Hidden River - worked together to put on the fair at the high school.

The credit unions have held similar events at Gov. Mifflin, Tulpehocken, Schuylkill Valley, Hamburg and Kutztown school districts. Trish Shermot, government relations and community engagement officer at Visions Credit Union, said the program will have reached 6,000 kids in 2018, its fourth year.

"It's Adulting 101," Shermot said. "These kids are going to be adulting in a couple months. It's our responsibility to help them understand and make good decisions and what decisions they are going to have to make."

Students are given budgets and then have to purchase things such as housing, transportation, food and furniture.

"If they have no money left, they either have to go back around and make better decisions or they get a part-time job," Shermot said. "At the end, they talk to the financial counselors to talk about all the decisions they made."

For Karla Dominguez, 18, a senior at Reading High School, the event was a reality check.

"When I was going around, there were a lot of things that were put into perspective for me," Dominguez said. "I never really thought about it before. The housing, the car and the extracurricular stuff we always had our parents pay for us."

Leaving that supported world is going to change things for her, Dominguez said.

"I have a job, and the money I get from there I put straight to clothing or food," she said. "I think now I'm going to start saving that because there's a lot of expenses I never thought about because my mom paid for them."

Reading High senior Eddy Abreu, 17, thought the event was eye-opening, as well.

"It's like a reality check to realize this is where you're eventually going to be and you're going to have to make decisions," Abreu said. "I think it's cool to see what to expect because there are really weird expenses that you don't think about that eventually will come up."

However, not all the students wanted to participate in the event.

"I think a lot of people thought this was pointless," Dominguez said. "A lot of my friends didn't want to come, but I think it gives you more perspective than you already would have had. Nobody really talks to you about these kinds of things."

She was glad to get a dose of reality this week.

"This is high school for me," Dominguez said. "I never thought about the real world. This pushed me to start thinking about it."

Reference: https://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/reading-high-students-get-a-dose-of-financial-reality