More than 100 students attended the Clinton High School CU4 Reality Financial Fair sponsored by Leominster Credit Union on March 30, 2016. The Financial Education Fair prepares students for the many financial decisions they will need to make once out of school. Students prepare for the event through a yearlong curriculum that introduces them to skills on responsible money management, creating a budget and making wise decisions regarding credit. The CU4 Reality Financial Fair is a three-hour exercise where students select a career with realistic salaries and then start on a “financial education” journey visiting booths attended by local businesses, volunteers and LCU employees to gain a real life understanding of living expenses.
Students visited booths where everyday life experiences and spending situations were presented. Volunteers including auto dealers, realtors, lenders, utility providers, retailers and others who helped them understand the actual expenses and how to develop a spending plan. This event brings awareness and a focus on “needs versus wants.” Students learned that they may need to change expectations. Instead of buying a car, they may need to take public transportation; or they may need share living expenses with a roommate in order to make ends meet.
Students from Nichols College served as ‘credit counselors’ and reviewed each student’s plan. They showed them where they were over budget and recommended adjusting their choices by eliminating some of the ‘wants’ in order to have enough for the necessities.
John O’Brien, President and CEO of Leominster Credit Union commented, “It is very rewarding to be a part of this event at Clinton High School. This Financial Fair presents real life experiences, creates awareness of financial circumstances and assists the students in preparing for their future. We’d like to thank those who took time out of their busy schedules to support this event. We are grateful to Principal Jim Hastings, Superintendent of Schools Terrance Ingano, the business owners and professionals from the Town of Clinton, Donna Bevilacqua of the Credit Union League, Julie Horrigan from the State Treasurer’s Office and Mary Ann Manning of the MA Division of Banks.
Ingrid Adade, LCU’s Financial Education Officer and event coordinator commented, “The Financial Education Fair was a great success. We hope that the curriculum and the CU4 Reality Financial Fair have helped the students gain the necessary money management and budgeting skills to prepare them for their futures.” Adade continued,”Ellen Welsh, Business teacher at CHS helped with preparations starting early in the planning stage. In addition to the learning that took place at the fair itself, Ms. Welsh’s students were hard at work behind the scenes designing booth signage and displays. Other students helped with registration and served as Student Ambassadors to welcome students and guests, and there was even a student reporter and photographer. I also want to thank the volunteers and the Nichols High School students who donated their time and experience to the students. Their support helped make this a very successful experience. It was truly a community event!”