Words by Al Blanton | Images courtesy Dr. Kim Ennis
Forty-two Walker College Foundation scholars recently participated in a career/budget simulation called “Bite of Reality,” sponsored by AlaTrust Credit Union at the Bevill State cafeteria. The students, who will be attending Bevill State this fall, circulated through several stations to understand the challenges of maintaining a budget in a busy world.
“We had fun and learned some eye-opening life lessons along the way,” said Walker College Foundation President Holly Trawick.
Stations were anchored by several community leaders who were instructed to encourage students to overspend. As students began to cobble together their budgets, they learned valuable lessons in prudence and fiscal responsibility.
Liz Barnett, a student pursuing a degree in secondary education with a major in speech pathology, echoed Trawick’s sentiments about the eye-opening nature of the event. “So many expenses are overlooked,” Barnett said. “This experience brings into perspective ways that younger adults can better manage their finances.”
The stations included:
Transportation: Terry Gurganus – Pinnacle Bank and Al Blanton – 78 Magazine
Entertainment: Beth Kennedy – Jasper High School
Groceries & Dining: Melissa Stevenson – Drummond Company
Household Needs: Paul Kennedy – WACF and Doug Hartley – Bevill State Community College
Shopping: Sharon Hogg – Rotary Club of Jasper
Clothing and Personal Care: Krystal Drummond – Drummond Company and Kim Ennis – KME Consulting
Childcare: Brandy Hill – Mosquito Authority and WCF Trustee
Housing: Jacob Sanders – ERA Byars Realty and Shawn Morgan – Synovus Bank
Credit Union – Heather Gann – AlaTrust Credit Union and program sponsor
Floaters – Jonathan Sargent – Alabama Power and WCF Scholar Graduate
Floater – Jonah Trotter – Jasper High/Middle School and WCF Scholar Graduate
Trawick expressed her appreciation for the community leaders who assisted with the event. “We are so grateful for the individuals who spent their time coaching and encouraging the WCF scholars during the Bite of Reality activity. Thank you to everyone who volunteered for this orientation activity and to AlaTrust Credit Union for sponsoring the Bite of Reality program for students in our community.”
According to Trawick, the overall purpose of the Walker College Foundation scholarship program includes more than just scholarships for students attending Bevill State Community College. Students are also offered peer mentors, community service, and informative lunches on topics like money management, building credit, resume preparation, interview skills, and communication skills. Half of the Foundation scholars are first-generation college students.
“We feel this emphasis on life skills will help them throughout their lives,” Trawick said. “Our scholarship program is successful because of our donors and our community volunteers who care about the future of students in our area and provide them with knowledge, encouragement, and support.” WL