Educating success

Published 10:28 pm Saturday, November 19, 2011

A key part of a successful education, particularly a high school education, is not only teaching students reading, writing and arithmetic but also showing them how to be successful in life.

With the help of some outside organizations, Suffolk Public Schools is aiming to do just that.

The school system apparently knows that to be successful in life, students must be able not only to add and subtract, but also to balance their checkbooks; not only to be able to regurgitate science facts, but also to use them in a career; not only to be able to read, but also to be able to comprehend, interpret and act on what they have read.

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Therefore, this week, high school students had the opportunity to participate in two different activities that will move them closer to being able to function independently.

On Wednesday, Bronco Federal Credit Union and Paul D. Camp Community College presented a reality fair at Nansemond River High School. Each student was randomly assigned a marital status and children, along with a career and corresponding salary.

Students visited various tables to spend their “salary” on various expenses that correspond to real life — housing, food, utilities, insurance, car loans, child care, medical expenses and other realities.

Spendthrift students saw their checking accounts dwindle until they could no longer afford necessities; responsible students still had a balance left at the end of the month.

“All this stuff costs more than it would seem,” student Stephanye Williams said.

The reality fair is a useful tool to teach students that they cannot spend all of their money without consequences. Sooner or later, their foolish ways will catch up with them.

Another event this week invited freshmen from all the high schools to start thinking about their future careers.

A variety of employers were available at the event, but more important was a representative from the Virginia Career Education Foundation, who told the students how important it is to develop good characteristics such as trustworthiness, innovation, creativity, punctuality and a strong work ethic.

No matter what career a student chooses, these traits will serve them well.

Congratulations to the school system for offering and encouraging these opportunities. If these programs help one student manage their money or choose a career, they will have been worth it.