Duneland Chamber’s “Reality Store” Gives Students Glimpse Into Real World

Nearly 650 middle-schoolers from Chesterton, St. Patrick’s Catholic School and Discovery Charter School descended on Chesterton High School throughout the day to play the Game of Life. The event gave these kids, who were dressed for success, a real, but fun, glimpse into what life after school will be like and what kind of planning and thinking is required while making serious decisions.

When starting out, students use their GPA to decide where they are to begin financially and occupationally. They then pick a random ball among many which tells them how many children they’re looking after. After that it’s off to the many stations to make decisions about everything from the cost of housing, insurance, and transportation to the consequences of financial loans and legal guidance. They had to think through their choices and paths and how they would then deal with the impact those decisions would have on themselves and their families.

Click here for more photos from the 8th grade Reality Store.

Kristina Koliboski from the Duneland Chamber of Commerce helped coordinate the event and was there helping the students throughout the day.

“It’s a great reality check for them,” Koliboski said. “Meeting the challenges they will face down the road won’t be easy but this gives them a glimpse at what life will be like. Learning the costs and consequences that come with major choices is very important and we hope they take these lessons with them.”

The Duneland Chamber has been putting the event on for almost twenty years now. Volunteers, business leaders and retired school teachers and administrators were on hand at each station to guide each student through their decision-making processes and where the consequences of those decisions would lead them.

Retired elementary principal Dan Keilman has been working the event since 2004. “I love doing this every year and so do the students!,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for these kids, and I hope it gives them a better appreciation for what kind of major decisions their parents face every day.”

Keilman was working the “Reward” booth where students who had made good decisions were rewarded with bonuses. “Here they are making good life decisions and being rewarded for that,” he continued. “What could be better?!”

The event has been a success year after year and the excitement from the middle schoolers and volunteers involved assures that this event will continue long into the future.