“Chef” Eli Rock won the Best Seventh-Grade Costume Award during this year's Reality Town at Grand County Middle School. [Photo by Teresa Clarkson / Courtesy of Joan Cannon]

The Grand County Middle School’s annual Reality Town event took place on Friday, March 3.

Members of the community supported the event by volunteering their time to staff the stations of life’s realities where students make financial decisions about how to budget their money, make wise financial choices and stretch their wages to meet the costs of housing, transportation, food, clothing, insurance, day care and entertainment, among other things.

GCMS Counselor Marva Lewis oversees the annual event with the help of Kris Hackney. Each year, they organize businesses and more than 50 community members to give students financial information and advice at the various Reality Town stations.

The students choose occupations for Reality Town based on their current grade point averages and their interests. They are given a future life scenario based on their jobs, wages, taxes, marital status and number of children. Each student is encouraged to dress for their job and prizes are awarded for best costumes.

Students visit more than 20 stations, including the bank, housing, transportation, child care, food, insurance, donations and utilities.

If their wages do not cover their expenses, they are required to find a second job. It was a day of reality and role-playing for them, giving them a sense of what daily life, concerns and financial matters will be like in their future.

Lewis said that school officials are “so appreciative” of the community for coming out to help and support middle school students during Reality Town.