Photo by Chad Koenen
Sam Felix of Karkela Hunt and Cheshire talked to students about different housing options during last week’s reality fair at New York Mills School. A number of local business representatives shared their expertise in a variety of matters during the first reality fair at the school. The fair was open to students in grades 9-12. 

Reality fair held at  NYM School

By Chad Koenen


Do you want to have food delivered every day? Perhaps you would like to open a checking account or have enough children to field your own basketball team? Or maybe, you fought the law and lost. 

On Tuesday, students at New York Mills School were able to plan out their life in a fun and unique way as part of the first-ever reality fair at the school. The event was organized and sponsored by Farmers and Merchants State Bank and featured a number of business owners from across the area who took students through a life version of the game of Life. 

Stephanie Von Ruden from Farmers and Merchants State Bank said the event was well received by students and staff at the school. She said the plan is to have another reality fair in the future.

Photos by Chad Koenen, contributed 
A number of local business owners and representatives volunteered their time on Tuesday morning to be part of the first-ever New York Mills Reality Fair. Local volunteers included: Children Booth- Anastasia Mickelson (Mickelson Turkey), Pets Booth- Dave Rud- DVS Vet, Housing Part I- Julie Roberts (City Of New York Mills) and Sam Felix (Karkela Hunt & Cheshire), Housing Part II-  Vanessa Ciha and Jerni Holweg (Centennial Realty), Medical Insurance- KaLyn Schneider and Annie Vanderbeek (Burgau Insurance), The Unexpected- Robb Reed (Perham Health), Sharing and Charitable Giving- Betsy Roder (Cultural Center), Household Spending- Tim Muehler and Tyler Muehler (Mills Country Market), Bank- Sam Slieter, Amy Wallgren (FM Bank), Credit Cards- Latham Hetland, Nick Roder, Stephanie VonRuden (FM Bank), Cell Phones – Tanya Brauch and Cassie Puttonen (Arvig) and Transportation-  Brandon Thompson and Abby Lipinski (Midstate Auto Auction).

“Overall the students were incredibly engaged,” said Von Ruden. “We had a wrap up meeting with a couple of people from the school and they had relatively positive feedback.”

The reality fair was open to students in grades 9-12 who were assigned a career, initial debt and a family ranging from small to large. The event featured a number of local businesses like Centennial Realty, the Cultural Center, Mills Market and others who educated students about their own respective fields for things like healthcare expenses, grocery budgets, housing and more. Students were able to take that information and plan out their life, for example they could decide how often they wanted to get things like Door Dash, as opposed to cooking a meal at home. 

Students also learned about the cost of having children and making a budget.