Periodically, students had to visit the “Reality Check” booth, where they might pick up $1,200 bonus or an iTunes gift card, or face an unexpected bill like a car repair.
Every student also had to visit the “Fun, Fun, Fun” booth filled with financial distractions.
“We are trying to teach the kids not everything is a good sale,” said Fun, Fun, Fun “salesperson” Anthony DiSalvo, who works in marketing for People’s United. He strummed a guitar and tempted students with concerts, motorcycles and trips.
While some students just got haircuts, others like Nicole Pszenny and Alicia Tinkham insisted on VIP Bruins tickets.
Tinkham’s job as an elementary school teacher earned her $24,000 a year, while Pszenny made $20,000 as an artist.
“I’m doing pretty well right now. Earlier on, it got a little messy,” said Tinkham, who had to trade in her car to save money. Despite some trade-offs, like having to buy cheaper furniture, Tinkham said: “I can’t pass up on Bruins tickets.”
Tinkham, who took Gadzera’s personal finance class last semester, said many students don’t realize the reality of paying bills in the real world.
“It gives you the worst-case scenario, though, and it prepares you,” Pszenny said of Reality Check.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.