Spoon River College Offers A Look At Reality

Approximately 600 8th graders from area schools got a lesson in real life during the 8th Grade Reality Store held at Spoon River College on the Canton Campus on Friday, March 21.

The annual event gives students the opportunity to choose a career, learn about the education and training required for that career and the salary that can be expected, and receive a “paycheck” that reflects the monthly starting salary for that particular career – minus taxes.

The reality sets in as participants – some of whom will be assigned a spouse and children – visit several stations where they must pay their bills; housing costs, car expenses and insurance, clothing, child care, groceries and health insurance. If they are lucky, they have enough left to visit the entertainment station. The “month” concludes with a spin on the wheel of fortune, where unexpected windfalls or expenses– like winning a radio contest or an emergency veterinary bill – await them.

“Our goal is to present them with concrete information about many different career choices and the education required for them, while also preparing them a bit for real life in a fun way,” said Brandi Ketcham, advisor in the student services office at Spoon River College. “And maybe, the next time mom or dad tells them ‘No, we can’t afford that right now’ when they want something, they will understand a little better.”

Career presenters for the day included: Dr. Jason Chamberlin (health care); Tamatha Schleich (nursing); Erika Leighton (physical therapy); Steve Flinn (electronics), Rob Swegle (construction trades); Joe Clemons (diesel repair technician); Mark Coulter (manufacturing/welding); Dr. Anthony Eaton (veterinary medicine); Nerissa McClelland (conservation); Dee Clark (business owner); John Davis (musician); Paige Edwards (graphic artist); Kayleigh Berry (photographer); Nick Tinsman (lawyer); Carol Blackfelner and Claudia Moss (education); Kent McDowell and Josh Wages (law enforcement); Innovations Design Academy (cosmetology); Mallory Jarvis (counselor/psychologist), and Jason Palmer (athletic trainer).

Schools participating were Astoria, Bushnell-Prairie City, Canton Ingersoll, Macomb, New Horizons, Spoon River Valley, and VIT.  Pictures of the event can be viewed on the Spoon River College Facebook page.