ESM students get a 'Reality Check'

More than 200 East Syracuse Minoa High School students participated in Reality Check, a student-run financial literacy event, held April 6.

The students interacted with area professionals on topics vital to teens like automotive, budgeting and account handling, college and career, credit, discretionary spending, health and wellness, insurance, keeping your money safe, legal issues, and savings and investing.

The event followed a game of "Life" format. Students were given "Reality Check" cash to start, received periodic paychecks, and traveled though the game dealing with scenarios presented on "situation cards" at various booths - often rolling dice to see the likelihood of different outcomes for each situation presented. They made decisions that affected their financial situations, received feedback from professionals and learned valuable lessons about life. The event was designed to provide students with a reality check on the consequences of decisions they make in their lives in a fun and engaging environment.

Twenty area professionals offered their expertise and insights to students throughout the evening, including Syracuse University, NewsChannel 9, CORE Federal Credit Union, East Area YMCA, Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Ridgeway and Conger, United Financial Services, Edmond Theobald Financial Services, Liverpool Schools Federal Credit Union, Erie Materials, Benefits Consulting Group, East Syracuse Chevrolet, Northside Collision, attorneys Joseph Lupia and Dominic Cambareri, and ESM School District guidance, nursing, business and communications department personnel.

Following the event, students moved to the auditorium to play a consumer awareness game show, "My Money or Yours?" Contestants faced off against 10 of their peers and answered a variety of questions about personal finance and life choices, with a chance for the contestant or the "mob" to win up to $150.

The evening was co-sponsored by ESM DECA and CORE Federal Credit Union who, in cooperation with the ESM School district, operates a wide variety of student financial literacy programs, including the first student run credit union in central New York at ESM high school.

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