When the advisory committee asked students what topics they would like to focus on during activities this year, the overwhelming majority said they wanted to know more about managing their own finances.
And so yesterday’s transition to the new semester at MHS looked a little different than usual. After lunch students left their classrooms to attend two different financial education activities designed to give them a sneak peek at their potential financial future.
In the PAC, students worked with Kim Smith from Bangor Savings Bank as she led them through an online scavenger hunt and taught them about various aspects of online banking.
In the gym, the New Dimensions Credit Union had set up a full Financial Fitness Fair with over 25 volunteers working a variety of booths.
New Dimensions’ Ryan Poulin, who is also a graduate of MHS, was excited to bring this award-winning program to Messalonskee for the first time.“It is the mission of New Dimensions Federal Credit Union to help prepare our young people for the real world by providing financial literacy resources and education, “ he said
The Fitness Fair is patterned after the game of “Life.” Students were asked to choose a career and corresponding salary ahead of time, and they were assigned a credit score at the opening of the activity. The students then had to visit 10 different booths representing the expenses adults face on a monthly basis, ranging from essentials such as food, to a category labeled “fun.”
Students had to choose how to spend their monthly income and fill in their budget sheet with the information they gathered at each booth. At the end of the activity, they needed to do the math to see if they could afford all their choices. Any student who didn’t at least break even had to decide what expenses they would cut to rework their budget. For an added twist, each student got to spin the wheel of life for a one-time windfall or expense.
Once they completed their spending plans students could turn in their cards to enter a drawing for one of four $25.00 prizes. Teacher evaluations of the event were also entered into a drawing for a $100 Staples Card.
Messalonskee guidance counselor Kara Sprague said they would definitely consider doing a similar activity in future years.
“I believe that our first Financial Fitness Fair was a great benefit to all students who participated,” she said. “They learned some valuable information about managing their finances.”