Although the thousands of dollars they earned aren’t real, the Delaware students who competed in the spring Stock Market Game will be able to keep the lessons they learned about the potential of investment and how it works.
The winners were honored for their virtual wealth accumulation in a virtual ceremony held over Zoom on Wednesday, May 24.
The Stock Market Game is an educational competition for students around the country run by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Students have $100,000 (in game dollars) to spend on publicly traded companies listed in the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, and the teams who get the best returns on their investments are the winners. The game’s app lets them follow companies and trade in real time, just as they would if they were actually investing.
In Delaware, the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship coordinates the game and a companion competition called Investwrite, in which students research and write essays about the stock market.
“I wish I could duplicate my team’s successes on my own investments,” said Michael Glazier, the teacher leading Springer Middle School’s winning team in the stock market competition.
The Stock Market Game has trained an entire generation or more of students now – the center, part of the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics at the University of Delaware, started offering the game in 1983, according to coordinator Marion Jacobs. If you’re one of those who likes labels on your generations, the program has covered most of the millennials, all of Gen Z, and now virtually the entirety of Generation Alpha (if that name sticks).
This year, Jacobs said, 291 teams for a total of 1,012 students took part. “It’s so inspiring to hear these young people on the right track, with lessons that will last for their entire lifetimes,” she said.
The Leasure Elementary team that won its grade division was made up of Mutaz Sharaf, Dallas Thomas, and Logan White, led by teacher Timothy Werbrich. They stewarded their funds to a total of $113,840.
“We tried to get a little bit of teamwork. So each of us picked one stock,” Thomas said.
Glazier’s Springer Middle School team garnered $119,419, and included Keira Lazar-Messinger, Alyssa Umbrecht and Abigayle Umbrecht.
“You can’t win this game by staying on the sidelines,” Glazier said. “They picked great stocks.”
Salesianum High School’s winning team more than doubled their money, racking up $204,255. Team members were Christian Boccuti, Tim Kincade, Nathan Reid and Deron Tshuente, led by teacher Ted Godfrey.
“You will have everyone’s undivided attention,” Jacobs said before their remarks.
Kincade, a junior, credited their investment in TOP Financial Group. Its stocks, after spending most of the year edging up from a little under $5 a share to nearly $7, shot up to a high of more than $256 in April. (If you’re hoping to get in on that wave, you’ll have to catch the next one — it’s since stabilized around $10 a share.) The team had been watching TOP over a few months and thought it was their best chance, Kincade said. They weren’t predicting quite that much of a spike, but he said, “We saw their great business strategy; they had great leaders.”
He added, “I’ve learned how to invest strategically … I’ve also learned that you’re never out until it is over.”
Students did a great job, said Craig Wheldon, chief special investigator for the Investor Protection Unit of the Delaware Department of Justice. “You are learning a skill that will pay dividends for the rest of your life,” he said. Joining Wheldon was Jillian Lazar, director of the unit.
Both are regulars at these events. The game was sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and funded by the Investor Protection Unit with support from WSFS Bank.
The awards ceremony also took time to recognize InvestWrite winners from last fall who hadn’t yet been named at the time of that ceremony. Those included Anna Morgenstern, the elementary winner from the Tatnall School, whose teacher is Heather Brooks; and Dynasty Brewington, the high school champion from Lake Forest.
Brewington’s teacher, Wendy Rust, said, “Now she’s confident and knows that she can invest and make money, and it will help her to be the best person she can be once she’s graduated.”
Jacobs also announced the winner of the spring InvestWrite contest, third-grader Cassie Spinosa of Gallaher Elementary. “It was just so exciting … when Miss Skaug (teacher Christel) told me, I was like, “Oh. Oh my goodness.” Spinosa also gave some credit where credit was due. “My mom helped me out a little bit — honorable mention.”
Jacobs also got an honorable mention for her years of service with the game, since she’s planning to retire and this was her last awards ceremony. Glazier even held up a trophy he commissioned for her, similar to the ones students get.
“She has been leading this program for almost two decades in Delaware,” said Carlos Asarta, director of CEEE, estimating that about 40,000 students had passed through the program under Jacobs’ tenure. “I want to thank you, Marion, for everything that you have done.”
“This has been a labor of love,” Jacobs said. “It’s been wonderful meeting these remarkable students, their teachers, and of course the parents and guardians who’ve supported them … it’s truly been a joy.”