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University of Delaware - Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics

By Heather Bender June 8, 2018

Young stock pickers were recognized for their financial savvy by the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics at a recent reception hosted by the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE), an experiential learning center in the Lerner College.

The budding financial planners were winners of the spring 2018 running of The Stock Market Game (SMG), a national competition offered by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association that challenges students to create a hypothetical investment portfolio and maximize earnings over a 10-week period.

“The Stock Market Game has been a staple program of the CEEE for decades,” said Carlos Asarta, CEEE director and economics professor in the Lerner College. “Its success comes from the students’ desire to learn about saving and investing in an active and engaging way, the support we receive from the Investor Protection Unit of the Delaware Department of Justice, and our staff’s passion to effectively educate future generations of investors.”

The CEEE has sponsored the SMG in Delaware since 1983.

This spring, 1,417 students on 401 teams competed in the SMG, which is sponsored by the Investor Protection Unit (IPU) of the Delaware Department of Justice.

“We’re the regulators in the state for investment advisors, and these kids are learning what an investment advisor would do for them,” said Craig Weldon, special investigator for the IPU. He added that the skills and knowledge acquired through the SMG prevent students from becoming victims of financial fraud in their adult lives.

Each team received a virtual nest egg of $100,000 to develop their investment strategy. Students researched the stock performance of publicly-traded companies, then traded on the SMG website at real-time prices. For 10 weeks, teams closely monitored their holdings, making adjustments if needed to grow their investments.

Tatnall School claimed first place in the elementary school division. Teacher Heather Brooks advised students Mia Gordon and Julia Reese, who built a portfolio that earned a 3% return.

First place in the middle school division went to Central Middle School, led by teacher Andrew Meade. Students Zachary Coburn, James See and Kevin Townsend developed a risky strategy that paid off with returns of 6.6%.

Dover High School earned top honors for the high school division. Under the guidance of teacher Pamela Moore, students Bradley Anyanwu, Piper Champiny and Derek Hallock built a portfolio that earned a healthy 4.6% return.

Finally, with the help of coach Lakira Williams, Ayana Dawson-Spence, DeCorey Johnson, Marcus Johnson, Zachary Riley, Kameen Rollins, Alexanda Saunders, Terrick Spohn and Dorothea Thomas took first place for the Boys and Girls Club middle school division.

Winners were also named for the fall 2017 and spring 2018 InvestWrite competitions. All SMG participants are eligible to participate in the essay competition, which reinforces the lessons introduced throughout the SMG curriculum.

Winners of the fall 2017 competition were Brianna Saxton, a fourth grader at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School coached by teacher Nancy Ventresca, and Thomas Coughlin, a senior at AI Dupont High School coached by teacher Charles Schneider.

The spring 2018 winner was Astrid Satur from Springer Middle School, coached by teacher Michael Glazier.

After presenting trophies and certificates, Weldon congratulated the students on their efforts, and encouraged them to continue learning about investing.

“As a student in the public school system here in Delaware, I didn’t know the value of learning about the stock market until much later in life,” Weldon said. “Don’t give up on this – continue to learn. The earlier you can learn about it, the more prepared you’re going to be.”

Asarta closed the reception by thanking the professionals and parents who supported the winning teams, and reiterated the CEEE’s commitment to providing high-quality educational programs for Delaware students.

“We do it because we love it,” Asarta said. “I am very passionate about programs like this that teach students the importance of financial decisions from a very early age.”