High school students get hard dose of reality

© GHS students learned what awaits them after graduation.
© GHS students learned what awaits them after graduation.
© GHS learned how to budget their monthly salary.
© GHS learned how to budget their monthly salary.

GRAHAM, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Some Graham High School students went through a real-world simulator held by the Young County Texas A&M Extension Agency.

It was the inaugural "Dose of Reality" simulation in the county.

High school students were given jobs and had to budget their monthly salary to pay for rent, car payments, credit card payments and everything else an adult pays for. Their salaries were based on national averages for that job.

"It would be pretty tough to just go out and make money to know how to spend all of it because we don't really have to do that here in high school," Jay Robertson, a junior, said. Robertson was a physical therapist who earned a monthly salary of $5,000 for the simulation.

Robertson's friend Garret Box was assigned to the U.S. Armed Forces. He earned $1,399 a month but at the end of the simulation only had $100 left in the bank.

"It makes you want to know what you need and what you want," Box said. "I didn't have a pet or anything, I was riding a bike around. I was riding the bus and I didn't have a vehicle."

30 percent of the students were given children to align with the national average for a 25-year-old adult.

Avery Iles, a junior, was a single mother for the simulation. She worked as a food-service manager and a monthly salary of $2,400.

She said she had no idea how much it costs to raise a child 'based on their clothing, groceries, and childcare needs.'

Iles said she now has an appreciation what her parents have done for her and her two sisters.

"I can't imagine what they have to go through paying for all three of us," she said.

Miranda Revell, the county's Texas A&M Ag Extension Agent, said she wished she had a program like this when she was in school.

"This would've been a huge blessing to me," Revell said. "You always have high standards when you graduate school and you go into the workforce. You think you can conquer the world and then reality hits. You don't have money for maybe anything but ramen for the month."

The three juniors said they plan on going to college and understand they will have to take in some debt to do so. They said it would be worth it to pursue their dreams.

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