Credit for Life Fair teaches financial literacy

Karn Datta, left, and Lucas Debettencourt set their clothing budget with Cassie Marischen. —Stacey Rupolo

By Annika Schmidt

Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) seniors got a chance to experience the real world last Wednesday. The Career Technical Education (CTE) and business departments collaborated with the Cape Cod 5 Savings Bank to hold the Credit 4 Life Fair in the gym, offering students a chance to create a budget and navigate life expenses in an effort to develop financial literacy skills.

“The fair has been successful all over the Cape, so now that Cape Cod 5 is on the Island, it just made sense to have it here,” said business teacher and Dean of Students Josh Burgoyne. “Mr. Jakusik, Ms. Chauvin, and I worked together and decided it was a good idea to expose high school seniors to real-life financial decisions.”

Students chose from a selection of professions and salaries that corresponded to their career goals. With their projected salary, students visited approximately 15 booths where they had to make monthly financial payments using projected savings, cash, or credit. Students also faced unexpected occurrences throughout the fair, such as parking tickets or veterinary expenses for a pet.

Senior Chris Mayhew said, “I feel more prepared for the future now, because the fair made financial decision making more real, as opposed to learning from a textbook.”

The final step of the fair was to consult a credit counselor to determine whether their financial decisions fit within their personal budget. “I thought the fair was beneficial, since we are going off on our own soon,” said senior Emma Bunker. “I know a little about financial planning, but I never realized how quickly things add up, or the stress of working with a small budget.”

For the most part, students had a favorable view of the day’s activities. “It was a success. We had a lot of positive feedback from students and thought the fair was well-received overall,” Mr. Burgoyne said. “Many of the workers who came from the Cape for the fair were extremely impressed with our senior class, especially as this is our first year hosting the event.”

Senior Mitchell Chaves said, “Growing up most of these things were taken care of for me, so seeing how much they cost was such an eye-opening experience.”