Make-believe trading is investment in future

Stock Market Challenge lets students be brokers for a day

Posted 3/18/18

Some students stood on chairs. Others waved their arms and made cryptic hand gestures. The noise in the room was deafening, and nobody stayed in their seats. While it might sound like a classroom out …

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Make-believe trading is investment in future

Stock Market Challenge lets students be brokers for a day

Posted

Some students stood on chairs. Others waved their arms and made cryptic hand gestures. The noise in the room was deafening, and nobody stayed in their seats.

While it might sound like a classroom out of control, the students were actually participating in Junior Achievement's semi-annual Stock Market Challenge on March 15, held at the Charles Schwab conference center in Lone Tree, where they got to be stock traders on Wall Street for a day. More than 1,200 students from along the Front Range participated in the two-day event, where school teams tested their investing skills by “investing” $500,000.

Chalmers Powell, 14, a freshman at Regis, was dressed for the part of stockbroker, sporting a suit and tie. He spent time before the opening bell searching for the “hot tippers,” or the people on the floor who would be delivering hot stock tips to the competitors.

“I'm trying to be the first one to get the hot tips,” said Chalmers. “My strategy for investing is to do it early, then buy low and sell high.”

The event was sponsored by Charles Schwab, and employees served in volunteer capacities as traders and hot tippers. Students started with a portfolio of $500,000 and a list of 26 stocks, which they researched during class before the competition. Students bought and sold stocks old-school Wall Street style, passing orders and considering tips. Throughout the trading students were given updates that changed the dynamic of their portfolio, forcing them to change strategies.

“We'll have someone announce, for instance, there was a storm that wiped out most of the banana producers. Students will have to decide what to do with the information,” said Jodi Wallace, development manager for JA.

Aryana Taylor, 18, a senior at Highland Ranch High, teamed up with fellow students Alexandra O'Brien and Paige Fitzgerald, and their strategy was to watch which stocks went up, which went down, and make the trades. Being a broker is not for the faint of heart, though, according to Aryana.

“My strategy is to try not to get dizzy,” said Aryana. “There's a lot of noise and a lot of activity. I'm going to focus on the stocks.”

Junior Achievement is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools and community businesses to teach financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness to students in grades kindergarten through 12th along the Front Range.

“We really want to help kids learn to become financially responsible, and empower them to take charge of their financial futures,” said Wallace.

Kent Clark, senior vice president of Charles Schwab, along with several employees, volunteered for the event, and said it was good to see young people taking part in their own futures.

“This event is really exciting for us,” said Clark. “We believe in raising the overall financial literacy of our clients, so this is really a good alignment for us. It's great that we can help facilitate their learning.”

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