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Michigan Credit Union League

Battle Creek Central High School Students Learn About Finances in the Real World

As part of Marshall Community Credit Union’s (MCCU) financial education initiative, a Financial Reality Fair was held at Battle Creek Central High School (BCCHS) on Dec. 19.

During the fair, more than 90 students participated in this “hands on” budgeting experience to learn more about personal financial management in a one-day “real world” environment. In preparation for the fair, Andrea Tucker, MCCU’s financial education coordinator, visited a career math classroom to teach some basic money management skills, including the importance of a good credit score.

The day of the event, students were provided with an in-depth budgeting sheet. This “real-world” exercise had each student budget their money wisely to make ends meet for one month. Students were required to find a place to live, obtain transportation, and pay for food and other essentials, as they visited 10 booths to obtain goods and services needed in everyday life. After visiting all of the booths, students balanced their budgets and reviewed their worksheets with a financial counselor.

“The Financial Reality Fair was a great way for the students to apply all the information learned in class," said BCCHS’ career math teacher, Erin Gutowski.


“[It] was harder than it seems, but gives you an idea of what adulthood is like,” said one student participant.

“The fair is a perfect example of how credit unions work in their communities to teach financial literacy to students. The students had the opportunity to work through real budget scenarios and make some tough decisions. I was impressed with how financially savvy some of them were. We look forward to doing another fair at BCCHS in the future,” said MCCU’s Tucker.

The Financial Reality Fair is an all-in-one kit made available from the Michigan Credit Union Foundation (MCUF) and was coordinated by MCCU and BCCHS teachers, Jason Coats and Erin Gutowski. Volunteers included staff from MCCU, as well as from Kalsee Credit Union, Allegan Community Credit Union, Blue Ox Credit Union and Honor Credit Union.

MCUF provides materials, funding and implementation guidance to credit unions to host Financial Reality Fairs. For more information see this webpage or contact Beth Troost.

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2018-01-05 00:00:00