By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Appropriately scheduled Oct. 31, seniors at Marlborough High School (MHS) began Halloween morning by learning how to avoid the scary consequences of poor budgeting as they were treated to the 11th annual Reality Fair.
Organized by the Marlborough Rotary Club, with assistance from the MHS chapter of Business Professionals of America and the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce, this financial lesson was designed as an interactive game. Students selected a career and received play money as a one-month salary.
With “cash” in hand, they visited representatives from about 25 businesses. They also took two mandatory spins at the Wheel of Fortune, which was manned by Dave Brower, transportation division manager of Mark’s Moving & Storage.
“They always expect something bad to happen, but frequently something good happens for them,” he said.
David Hill was lucky at the wheel. His spin landed on “Lottery Win: $1,000.”
“I’m going to Vegas,” he proclaimed.
Elizabeth Cronin was less fortunate. Her spin landed on “Auto Repair: $700.” She had only $200.
“I’m in debt, so I’ll have to borrow $500 from the bank,” she said.
A number of students got advice on borrowing from Martin O’Sullivan, assistant vice president and mortgage consultant at Marlborough Savings Bank.
“I stress the reality of credit,” he noted. “If you don’t pay on time every month, you may not be able to get another loan or even a credit card down the road.”
Students who were shopping for a vehicle surprised Peggy Sheldon, the Rotary Club vice president.
“They’re not looking at the cars’ years or the mileage on them; it’s solely about what they look like,” she relayed. “Some of them should probably use public transportation.”
Students gave their ledgers to a credit counselor to ensure they successfully completed the game. Among the volunteers acting as a credit counselor was Carol Turner, who felt that most students did well at managing a budget.
“They’re not spending a lot of money on the extra things,” she said. “I’ve only had one student who needed to go back for a loan. The rest have had anywhere from $50 to $100 dollars left at the end of the month. I’m impressed with them.”