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11/16/2012 6:01:00 AM
Reality Store takes a bite out of Kingman students' wallets
AHRON SHERMAN/Miner
Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Pam Wilkinson speaks to Xander Blake and Dawn Orcutt about purchasing Internet, telephone and TV bundles.
AHRON SHERMAN/Miner
Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Pam Wilkinson speaks to Xander Blake and Dawn Orcutt about purchasing Internet, telephone and TV bundles.
AHRON SHERMAN/Miner
The Kingman Middle School students were role-playing: Blake was a welder with no kids making more than $3,500 a month, and Orcutt was a nurse making less than $3,000 a month who’s married and has two kids. Bottom: Jackie Larson, a volunteer with the Kingman Area Meth Coalition, watches the wheel turn as Mount Tipton student Madison McGlathery waits to see what it will land on – and what it will cost her.
AHRON SHERMAN/Miner
The Kingman Middle School students were role-playing: Blake was a welder with no kids making more than $3,500 a month, and Orcutt was a nurse making less than $3,000 a month who’s married and has two kids. Bottom: Jackie Larson, a volunteer with the Kingman Area Meth Coalition, watches the wheel turn as Mount Tipton student Madison McGlathery waits to see what it will land on – and what it will cost her.

Ahron Sherman
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - Eighth-grade students from all over the Kingman Unified School District converged on White Cliffs Middle School Thursday for a crash course in life known as the 2012 Reality Store.

Over the last two weeks, each student randomly selected a career and salary, an education level, a marital status and the amount of children he or she has. Students were given check registers and their annual salaries were broken down by month. Armed with their make-believe situation, students moved through a line where they paid bills, decided whether or not to buy luxury items and were faced with random situations that cost them money, changed nothing or bolstered their finances.

"They start at the bank, where they find out they have to pay taxes," said Kim Robbins, a counselor at White Cliffs Middle School and one of the primary organizers of the event. "That's their first surprise."

Throughout the experience, there are plenty of ways for the students to make poor financial decisions, such as buying their children $500 iPads or 50-inch TVs, but they must face the consequences when they do, Robbins said. Studentswho ran out of money visited with credit counselors and were often forced to take out part-time jobs to supplement their incomes.

Over the next couple of weeks, students will write compare-and-contrast essays that look at their Reality Store experience compared to what they want to do for a living in the future, Robbins said.

At the end of the line, the Kingman Area Meth Coalition had a "life's unexpected" wheel, and students were required to spin it.

They could score some dough, spend a bunch of money they didn't have and even lose their life to meth, which meant they had to start the whole process over.

Madison McGlathery, a student at Mount Tipton School, spun the wheel and it landed on a car accident with an insurance increase. It cost her $125, but it wasn't too big of a problem for her because she was an accountant making more than $4,000 a month for the day.

Even though she was making good money, the Reality Store still opened her eyes,

"I appreciate my parents more," she said. "No wonder my dad is always so grumpy."

Mariah Dunning, who also attend Mount Tipton School, didn't have it as good as McGlathery. She was a single mother with two kids working as high school teacher for just over $2,500 a month.

"I ran out of money once," she said. "I had to get a part-time job."

She couldn't afford a pet, didn't have much food and needed to use public transportation to get around.

"It's a challenge," she said.

The Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce's Workforce Development Committee and KUSD, especially middle school counselors Robbins and Judy Venenga, organized the event.

This is the sixth year it's been held.

Jan Davis, who's with the Chamber's board of directors, spent the day hawking big-ticket luxury items. It's her second year volunteering for the event.

"I've had my faith restored in the youth," she said. "I'm amazed with what they know and understand about daily living."

She said many of the students decided not to buy the televisions she was selling.

One student told her that his kids didn't need a TV because they should be spending more time outside.

Pam Wilkinson, the Chamber's CEO, did a lot to entice the 75 volunteers who participated in the event. She also worked the phone, Internet and cable booth, and was pleasantly surprised.

"Kids are more prepared that I expected," she said.

Many passed her booth, made it to the end of the line, checked the finances and came back to purchase a bundle if they could afford it.

"They're a little more savvy this year," she said.



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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012
Article comment by: nnp .....

realistically given America's new demographics, among the kids' choices of family status would have to be gay and transgender, married to an illegal immigrant who speaks Dari or Tagalog. You also better throw in a criminal record (it's so easy, and common) and early onset radiation symptoms from Fukushima. Cheers.

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012
Article comment by: Eddie L

Those wages are actually quite accurate, I am an accountant and my wife is a teacher, so I am a good source of information. I agree that this is a excellent class, I would like to volunteer for the event next year!

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012
Article comment by: Dixie Tolentino

Cudos to everyone for this 'reality clinic'.

Reality clinics such as this certainly would enhance and support self confidence in making future decisions.

Knowledge is never wasted. It just waits to be used.


Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012
Article comment by: Warren AO

I can think of a few 'grown-ups' who should take a walk through this reality store. It might make them a little more compassionate toward their fellow human beings.

It's too easy, when one is comfortable in one's situation, to imagine that others simply lack gumption or initiative enough to do well in life. Sometimes, luck (good or bad) really is the key player.


Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

This seems like a great idea to me and I applaud the program. I think that the baby boomers have given their children far to much and the kids have unrealistic expectations about their future. But I think that there should have been a union booth that tells the kids the value of collective bargaining so that the children of the future can improve their lot in life. Learning to live on what you can make in Kingman is really a reality most people have trouble dealing with. That said I also want to stress that all jobs should not be union jobs. But any skilled labor job that takes some time to learn and reguires some comittment from the worker should be considered a possible union job. But I won't hold my breath that this will happen in Kingman.

Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012
Article comment by: On Target Relevancy

I'm SO glad to see this particular type of 'class' being held for the kids! Thank you (whomever) for thinking it up, and to all those implementing it! The wages do seem a bit high. Is that realistic for today in this town?



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