On April 18 and 19, as part of Paris High School’s Senior Academy week, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service conducted the “Ready, Set, Graduate” program.

Ready, Set, Graduate is a financial management program that teaches high school seniors skills in budgeting, banking and the wise use of credit.

On the first day of RSG, seniors participated in educational classes taught by Charla Hammonds, County Extension Agent-FCS, Jennifer Hibbs, Bank of the Ozarks branch manager and Melissa Moore, Bank of the Ozarks regional branch manager. Students learned how to write checks, balance a checkbook and create a budget based on a prospective salary for their chosen career.

On the second day, students had the opportunity to apply these skills during the Mall of Life simulation. Stations were set up in the PHS gym and manned by area business. At each station, students made decisions similar to those adults make each month. Students had to buy or rent a home and purchase a car, insurance, and utilities along with other common expenses while keeping costs within the restraints of their budget.

The following businesses and organizations participated: Bank of the Ozarks, First National Bank, Farm Credit, Western Arkansas Education Service Cooperative, Paris Area Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau, AAM, Paris Ford, Infinity Salon, Rethink Storm Shelters, Farmers Insurance, Mosquito Joes and Harlan Brewton.