PORTAGE | Angel Chabes was a little concerned when she walked into the gym at Fegely Middle School on Thursday morning.
She and the other eighth-graders at the school were going to get a reality check and she wasn't sure she was going to like it.
But, Chabes said, it turned out OK.
"They really gave me confidence," she said of the volunteers who manned the various tables at the annual Reality Store exercise provided to students through a partnership of Purdue North Central and the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce.
The exercise, she said, "made me realize what life is going to be like."
Life was going pretty well for Jasmine Silva until she had to blindly draw a "life's chances" ping pong ball at the end of the line of tables. A psychiatrist with two children who made moderate choices for a house, car and clothing, Silva drew an unpleasant chance that threw her into bankruptcy.
"I think if you keep everything in check, it will be fine," she said, adding the exercise also gave her new appreciation for her parents.
"You have to appreciate stuff instead of asking for it all the time," said Silva.
Social studies teacher Dawn Lee said she prepared her students in the classroom by going over career options, employment and education requirements along with discussions about cars, housing and insurance.
Some of the kids make it through fine, she said. Others don't. One of there biggest surprises, said Lee, is that taxes are taken right off the top.
"Hopefully they realize things are not as easy as they think they are," said Lee.