Real Life 101: Chambers County kids get a lesson on life

Published 8:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2024

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The Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the ninth annual Real Life 101 on Friday. The event took place at Southern Union State’s Valley campus and 10th and 11th graders from the local high schools attended. 

The event includes sessions taught by local experts in subjects that can aim to help students in their transition out of high school, and life after.

The other sessions offered to the students involved technical and workforce training, interview skills, FAFSA, financial planning, dual enrollment, reality after high school, and college admissions for two and four-year schools. 

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Most of these courses are taught at each year’s event, however, there was a new session called ‘Social Media, Athletes, and NIL’. There had been a social media course in previous years, and the topic of NIL was added this year. 

“[NIL] is big right now. That class was full every session,” said Carrie Wood, the director of GVACC. “[Social media] is not all bad. It can be good. They just need to the do’s and the don’ts and how they can use social media to push them forward.”

The students chose their top three choices of the 30-minute sessions to attend before the event. If students attended both the 10th and 11th portions of the day, that means they could attend six of the nine sessions offered. 

Most of the sessions are taught by Southern Union faculty, although they also had instructors and staff from Point University, Circle of Care Center, and Chattahoochee Federal Credit Union. 

Wood said the event was born out of conversations between schools and Southern Union on the preparedness of students. 

Wood said the goal of the event is to “better assist students in making sure that they have the tools that they need to go forward after high school.”

“As far as the FAFSA, Dual enrollment, reality [after high school], and college admissions, that’s something we’ll always keep because that’s what they need to know,” Wood added. 

“The teachers, administrators, and counselors love this. And from what they tell me they get really positive feedback from the students. That’s the reason why this is our ninth year,” Wood said. “We want to continue doing it and making sure that we’re leading for our future down the right path.”