Hollister School District is finding ways to better prepare their students for the future.
“REALL stands for ‘Reality Enhancement and Life Lessons,’” said Tonya Nash, high school counselor. “It’s designed for high school or middle school aged students to challenge them to think critically about decision-making skills in their own life.”
Through this program with OACAC (Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation) the freshman class is put through two simulations that consists of four 15 minute sessions that represent a month.
All of the students received a ‘life’ on a sheet of paper. The first simulation was to show what life could be like if they made reactive decisions or poor choices. The second simulation showed what their lives could be like if they made proactive or good choices.
“The first life they get is someone who made, what they call reactive decisions or poor choices,” said Nash. “All these people have dropped out of high school, some will have legal trouble (and) some have had children at a young age.”
During the reactive session the students learned a few things that they seemed to be taking to heart.
“(I’ve learned) not to have a kid, wait until you have everything figured out and not just rush everything,” said freshman Ronny Daniels. “It’s kind of hard. I was 17, and I had an 8-year-old and a six year old and it was hard because you didn’t really know what you were doing.”
“Having a kid and dropping out of high school is a lot of work, more than you think it would be,” said freshman Marlene Perez.
After they received these ‘lives,’ they were then challenged to lead that life and do things that most adults have to do, including pay rent, pay utilities, maybe visit a probation officer, buy food (and) go to work.
“Then they have a proactive session, where they’ve made good choices,” said Nash. “On this particular life everyone had made a positive choice by staying in high school and finishing, some have had additional training, some have gone to college and they have to meet those same adult level responsibilities, but they find out it’s a lot easier because there’s not so many obstacles to overcome.”
The experience is ended with a debriefing to help students process what they have learned.
“Don’t rush anything in life. The simulation, it teaches you a lot about life, and it’s pretty cool,” said Daniels. “It’s an eye-opening experience. It’s made me open a lot and think about stuff and what I should and shouldn’t do whenever I’m older.”
“It made me really see that maybe not rushing everything and really take everything step by step so I can learn everything and be prepared by then,” said Perez.
This was the third year the freshman class at Hollister high school was able to go through the REALL simulation.