High School Reality Fair

HS students at Reality Fair

“Adulting is hard,” was the response from a Loyalsock Township High School Senior, when asked what students learned during the day. The epiphany came at the end of a Financial Reality Fair, coordinated by Horizon Federal Credit Union.

Over two hundred juniors and seniors participated in the event to learn about budgeting, salaries, and everyday expenses associated with housing, groceries, transportation, cell phones, and more. The fair was the third of its kind facilitated by Horizon this school year. The credit union was approached by Heather Pipech, Business & Computer Technology teacher at Loyalsock Township.

“Last year, in one of my PLC groups for Business Educators, I saw posts about other schools across the US offering these Financial Reality Fairs for their students and immediately loved the idea but didn't have any idea on how we could put an event like that together,” explained Mrs. Pipech.  “As a department we were all very excited when Horizon presented this opportunity to us, and we realized they had a team in place to make this happen with community financial experts.” 

Students worked with their teachers to choose a career, and Horizon created individual budget sheets detailing first year salary, with deductions for taxes and 401k contributions. The students were then tasked with visiting different booths to make decisions on essential items as well as luxuries. Each decision resulted in an expense which were recorded on the students’ budget sheets. At the end of the fair, students reviewed their budgets with a financial counselor to see how they fared. Horizon employees, along with representatives from both Gutherie Federal Credit Union and M.C. Federal Credit Union staffed the booths and served as financial counselors.

“Our students really enjoyed the experience,” remarked Mrs. Pipeach. “This event made our classroom lessons on budgeting and expenses become an example of reality for these students. They quickly realized real life and ‘adulting is hard!’  We had a lot of great discussions with students during and after the event and all of our conversations were very positive.”

The Financial Reality Fair is part of Horizon’s commitment to financial literacy and serving their community. “Our vision is to help individuals experience a brighter financial future,” explained Horizon’s Chief Branding Officer Michael Patterson. “We enjoy partnering with area schools and engaging with students to help teach the importance of creating and staying within a budget and managing expenses. We hope these experiences help them to continue to make sound financial decisions for the rest of their lives.”