Marva Lewis, Grand County Middle School counselor, oversees the annual event with the help of Kris Hackney. Each year they organize businesses and more than 50 community members to give students financial information and advice at the various Reality Town stations.
The students choose occupations for Reality Town based on their current grade-point averages and their interests. They are given a future life scenario based on their jobs, wages, taxes, marital status and number of children in their Reality Town family. Each student is encouraged to dress for the job they are assigned, and prizes are awarded for best costumes.
Students visit more than 20 stations, including the bank, housing, transportation, child care, food, insurance, donations, utilities and others. If a student’s assigned wages do not cover expenses, that “worker” is required to find a second job.
“It was a day of reality for them, and a role- play to give them a sense of what daily life, concerns, and financial matters will be in their futures,” organizers said. “We are so appreciative of the community for coming out to help and support our middle school students during Reality Town.”