The Financial Fitness Fair exposes all students in the junior class at Thornton Academy to a "life journey" of managing their own financial obligations in order to encourage financial responsibility. Based upon student response to a career interest survey, students are assigned a salary and a credit score. Students then move through booths set up with banking and financial professionals who assist students in deciding upon savings, housing, clothing, food, student loans, transportation, home furnishings and “fun” choices. The “Wheel of Life” booth provides each student a chance to spin and land on an unexpected event (mimicking real life). The fair offers the opportunity for students to understand the fiscal realities of everyday living with factors like income, expenses, and credit score.
The event is brought to campus through the Jobs For Maine Graduates program. Brenda Piecuch, Vice President of Compliance at PeoplesChoice Credit Union of Saco said, "Four years ago financial fitness fairs were presented in most areas of Maine except for York County. The President of PeoplesChoice Credit Union challenged me with establishing a process of presenting fairs to the high schools in this area. My role is to coordinate with the high schools to present these financial fitness fairs to the juniors or seniors of their school. I prepare the expense sheets/portfolios for the students, recruit volunteers and basically oversee the fair from the set up to take down. I have recruited three other credit unions in the York County area to assist with some of these duties and finances. Over the last four years we have performed financial fitness fairs at Marshwood High School, Biddeford High School, Thornton Academy, Sanford High School and the Alternative Pathways Center. Most high schools have requested that the fairs occur on an annual basis. At no cost to the school the students obtain a wealth of financial knowledge they will take with them, always. They learn budgeting, the importance of credit scores and realize whether or not they can live on the career of their choice. My goal is to reach out and perform financial fitness fairs in all high schools in York County."