Laramie High School students paid a visit to "Reality Town" this (Tuesday) morning during their half day. While the junior class was busy taking their ACT exam, grades 9, 10, and 12 gathered in the LHS commons to participate in an event called "Reality Town".

Reality Town is an event designed to allow students to start planning for the real world. During the event, students are given a pamphlet that details their adult life, including their spouse, income, and children. The students then have to purchase a car, find a place to live, buy groceries, etc. within the monthly income given to them. To help students find realistic prices, more than 20 businesses came to the event to represent the automotive, grocery, life insurance, and entertainment industries, to name a few.

"I didn't realize how expensive everything is in real life" said senior Caroline Lockard.

Echoing Lockard's sentiments was sophomore Micheal Kruszynski, who said that "Reality Town shows you the reality of what you're getting into and what your parents went through."

UniWyo Marketing Vice President Mindy Uitterdyk worked with the Laramie County Community branch of GEAR UP to bring the event to LHS. In addition to the event at LHS, Uitterdyk also coordinated an event for the University of Wyoming.

GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, helps low-income and first-generation college students prepare for college and careers through college preparation, financial aid, and career exploration.

GEAR UP Program Manager Adam Keizler said that Reality Town was brought to LCCC's GEAR UP from another site. He mentioned that the team saw it as an opportunity to educate, since many young people don't understand the value of some of the good paying jobs Wyoming has to offer.

"For example, when Simon Contractors can hire someone straight out of high school for $30,000-$40,000, that opportunity means nothing if you don't understand the reality of living on your own and how much money that takes" Keizler wrote in an email.

Of the Reality Town experience, Uitterdyk says that "we loved it and wanted to bring more of it to our community" and added that "Reality Town provides a great experience and valuable informational for the youth in our community."

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