Eighth grade students at Woodland Middle School recently learned how decisions they make today will affect them for their lives to come as a part of the interactive workshop, CHOICES. The two-day workshop uses a proactive approach during two class periods to discuss the high school drop-out rate for students across Washington and to show students the advantages of finishing highschool.
“You might feel that you’ve already been in school forever, but when you look at this entire timeline, you can see that your time in school makes up a remarkably small part of your life,” Zahkeen Khan, a community outreach specialist with Fibre Federal Credit Union, told the kids. “If you want a comfortable career and want to retire, that goal starts with smart choices made in school right now.”
Students participated in multiple activities, including identifying which careers would be available to an application depending on which educational outcome they had. A high school dropout, high school graduate and post-secondary education including apprenticeships, trade school and college were all looked at.
“The average dropout earns around $26,000 while the average college graduate earns $63,000,” Khan told the students. “The more education you have, the more choices you will have for your future.”
Students also learned the importance of money management when a student volunteer pretended to drop out of school to “enjoy life.” In the scenario, the volunteer had to find a job after getting kicked out of their parents’ house. They had to find a job that pays $15 an hour ($2,500 monthly) and the volunteer and class together learned how difficult it would be to pay for all of the expenses of life on that income.
At the end of the two-day workshop, students signed pledges to show they intend to finish high school and eventually earn their diplomas. Khan ended the workshop encouraging students to consciously make the right choices for themselves and their futures.
“Life is all about the choices you make in your middle and high school careers; those will determine how many choices you will have for your life after you graduate,” Khan said.