Fibre Federal Gives 300+ High School Students a Taste of the ‘Real World’

Fibre Federal recently hosted their largest financial reality fair to date; a 323 student, eight-high-school fair, with support from the Northwest Credit Union Foundation.

“We were thrilled to have this level of participation from our local schools. We wanted to involve as many students as possible, to give them a feel for what they will be facing after graduation,” said Shannon Cahoon, Community Outreach Coordinator for Fibre Federal.

Thanks to over 100 volunteers who gave their time on March 31 and April 2, the students got to experience budgeting and prioritizing while navigating life’s temptations.

Kathy Schmit, who brought 82 students to the event, said it was the most impactful thing her students had done all school year. “I think one of the universal comments I heard on the bus on the way home was ‘I really need to thank my parents.’ Now, as a parent that really did my heart some good, but as a teacher for them to come to the realization that money does not come from the sky, and that factors they have control of change the quality of their life, that’s what it is all about.”

“The exercise was just a snap-shot,” continued Shannon. “We tried to create as realistic an experience as we could, but we know there were ways that this differed from true reality. What we really hope we accomplished is giving students a point of reference as they set out — a place to start establishing more realistic expectations about what life might be like.”

It appears that goal was accomplished. Based on feedback from pre- and post-event student surveys, participants reported increased understanding of the importance of saving and the impact their credit score will have on their future. They also showed more realistic expectations about what they might earn out of school, how much taxes cost, and what portion of their income might be able to be spent on fun.

Fibre plans to make the reality fair an annual event, and looks forward to working with more high schools in the future.

The Northwest Credit Union Foundation offers grants for financial education and community development, as well as professional development scholarships for credit union professionals. Learn more at the Foundation’s website.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790,

Posted in Federal.