By WVUA 23 Reporter Kayla Smith

Students at Hillcrest High School participated in the “Your Money, Your Life” program on Tuesday.

Hillcrest students were assigned occupations and family situations and then asked to create a mock budget. They were challenged to balance budgets that included both necessary expenses, like housing and groceries, and entertainment splurges.

The program’s organizers said that they hope students will leave the program with the skills to be financially responsible.

“We’re trying to say, ‘Listen guys, they’re not just giving you something to do today,’” said LeDonna Beck, Tuscaloosa County Schools Career Coach. “This is a true life lesson and that’s what we hope the students will carry with them. Life is hard, but the life you’re able to live will be based on the kind of career choices you make.”

Braylon Howard, a student at Hillcrest High School, said he feels more prepared for life after graduation.

“What I learned today is out of everything, you’ve got to get your priorities straight,” Howard said. “You’ve got to get your car, your housing, your income, utilities, groceries, and all the entertainment stuff comes next.”

Hillcrest’s Career Preparedness teacher, Jacob Hamner, is 23 and has to work to balance his budget each month. He said that programs like this supplement traditional school subjects and create a well-rounded, practical curriculum for students.

“This career prep class is really giving them the ability to go through and really figure out what they want to do and actually understand the real world stuff that is going to come with graduating from high school,” Hamner said.

The careers assigned to students are all occupations that exist in west Alabama. This program is hosted by Alabama 4H, and it will visit Sipsey Valley High School next month.

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