Bulkeley High School Students Attend the 1st Annual Financial Reality Fair

Bulkeley High School Students Attend the 1st Annual Financial Reality Fair

Thanks to CENCAP, the CT League of Credit Unions, Bulkeley High School counselors, and the HPS Engagement team, more than 125 senior students from Bulkeley High School attended the first annual Financial Reality Fair to prepare for financial success in college and in their careers.

The fair, which will be held at a different high school of the Hartford Public Schools district in 2019, had the help of nearly 50 volunteers to guide students through the benefits and challenges of managing their finances.

Bulkeley seniors who moved to Hartford from Puerto Rico within the last 6 months are guided through the fair by Spanish-speaking volunteers.

“It is important for our students to learn about life after high school while they are still in high school,” said Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez. “Hartford Public Schools thanks all the volunteers and the credit union staff that supported our students in this event. Our school district is stronger when school, community and business work together as one team.”

At the fair, students began by receiving an orientation about finances, along with a budget worksheet including their chosen career, salary, student loan payment amounts, and credit score. They then transitioned to the school gym, where volunteers were waiting at booths with information on housing, credit, transportation, food, clothing, pets, electronics and entertainment.

Each student had to make important decisions about how to budget their monthly salary to cover the expenses presented at each booth. Students thoughtfully made important decisions ranging from finding a roommate to save on housing and food costs, to deciding between having a monthly car payment or using public transportation.

Each booth presented clear choices for the students.  The Part-Time Jobs booth helped them to think about additional income sources.

Some volunteers were overheard saying, “I wish I had something like this when I was in high school!”

One booth, the Wheel of Reality, added an interesting twist. With every spin of the wheel, students would either earn a financial windfall or would be hit with a “financial reality”, such as owing additional taxes.

The Wheel of Reality

At the end of the fair, held on Friday, April 27, students met with financial counselors to review their budget worksheets and discuss income strategies that will help them meet their future financial goals.

“I am excited to bring the first annual Financial Reality Fair to Bulkeley High School, with support from Credit Unions Building Financial Independence. Hands-on learning is critical for young people. The financial decisions they make in this simulation and their consequences will help the students make better choices in the ‘real’ world after graduation,” said Wendy Tariff, branch manager and certified credit union financial counselor from Cencap Federal Credit Union.


For more information on the Credit Unions Building Financial Independence program, please visit their web page here.