Published: Jan 22, 2013 06:00 PM
Modified: Jan 22, 2013 11:46 AM
Some eighth-graders at Fuquay-Varina Middle School cut out pictures from magazines to portray what they want their futures to look like.
Among the wish lists: luxuries such as Rolex watches, fast cars and multi-million dollar homes.
But when those students picked potential job opportunities during a lesson this month, they got a real-world look at median salaries and budgets. Rolexes might be nice, but theyre not cheap.
The message came from Wal-Mart mentors in Fuquay-Varina who are part of Mi Futuro, a nationwide education program through the giant retail company.
Starting in November, local mentors began meeting with some students at Fuquay-Varina and Durant Road middle schools. Five mentors and a coordinator visit students for one hour each month to talk about college and career planning.
Brenda Paschal, an eighth-grade teacher at Fuquay-Varina Middle School, and Scott Hall, a local Wal-Mart assistant manager and Mi Futuro coordinator, discuss the program. Q: After the introductory meeting in November, what happened at Mi Futuro sessions? Paschal:
The mentors talked about setting realistic goals. Students were given poster board and magazines and told to create collages that were reflective of their future lives.
(Then) they got worksheets describing gross pay, net pay, house payments and car payments. It was a really good lesson, an eye-opener for them. They couldnt have the pretty car they wanted without doing some hard work. Q: Is the goal partly to help students see the value of a college education? Paschal:
I think all of the students in my class would tell you they want to go to college. But these activities help them see a more realistic view of going to college and what happens afterwards. Q: What is mentoring like? Hall:
This opportunity allows us to share some of our own experience. When we were kids, we had big dreams, but we had no clue how to get there. The biggest thing for us is to help them set realistic goals.
When I asked what the students wanted to be, some said marine biologists, some said nurses, aerospace engineers or athletes.
My message is that you can do all of those things. Youll get out of it what you put into it.
We also tried to show them that their job right now is eighth grade. We want them to feel motivated in school, and we want to help them be everything they want to be. Q: What is the response from students? Hall:
We get really excited about going out to the school, and were finding that the kids look forward to us coming, now that they know what to expect. Not only does the experience help the kids; it helps us as well.
In April, well have a field trip to our store and a graduation ceremony. Parents and the superintendent will be invited.
We want them to feel special and see where they can be if they work hard.