“It is a big wake-up call:” Greendale H.S. students take part in Reality Day workshop

GREENDALE -- Greendale High School students got a reality check on Wednesday, March 22nd -- figuring out how to manage money, and seeing whether their career goals could support the lifestyle they want.

Fast forward 10 years, and Greendale High School junior Samantha Henschel said she sees herself as an attorney.

"I am definitely worried about loans. Definitely worried about how much it is going to be after I go to undergrad and graduate," said Henschel.

Greendale High School "Reality Day"

To make it easier to plan for the future, the gym at Greendale High School was turned into a simulation of what life could be like with that paycheck.

"Sometimes it is a big wake-up call," said Nicole Mobley, social studies teacher.

Students visited booths and wrote checks to cover expenses -- from housing to utilities to groceries.

This event was called "Reality Day" and is part of economics class.

"A lot of them do have to pay their car insurance now and their own cell phone bill, but this is just so much more," said Mobley.

Greendale High School "Reality Day"

Greendale High School "Reality Day"

Everything was based off of real-time data and real numbers, so when students chose which homes to purchase, they were all based off of homes actually in Greendale.

Students even had to pay their credit card bill!

"Necessities come first. The luxuries come after that. It can be more of an art than a science sometimes," said Joel Tornow, commercial banking portfolio manager and volunteer for "Reality Day."

Greendale High School "Reality Day"

Greendale High School "Reality Day"

And when it comes to life's unexpected events, there was a 'fate' booth.

Henschel said it was a stressful exercise, but she said she welcomes the responsibility.

"It is really important to see how much your income can get you and how far your income goes," said Henschel.

The people manning the booths throughout the exercise were professionals in the industry -- for instance, real estate agents, to make the simulation as effective as possible.

Greendale High School "Reality Day"

Sophomores, juniors and seniors participated in the exercise.