Tuesday, February 03, 2015

TOP STORY >> Students make a killing in stock market

Leader staff writer

Three groups of students recently made a killing in the stock market.

They turned a solid profit of $100,000 on an imaginary portfolio and collected medallions and cash at a luncheon sponsored by Economics Arkansas at Verizon arena.

A team from Warren Dupree Elementary in Jacksonville took first in Region 5, adding about $10,000 to their portfolio in less than 10 weeks. A group of students from Lonoke Middle School finished second in the same region.

Both teams were among 140 elementary school division teams participating in the region.

And a pair of students from Beebe Middle took second place in that division for Region 4, competing against 63 teams.

The Warren Dupree team of four – Steven Garry, Bianca Johnson, Ja’Paris Galmore and A’leah Williams — shared the first-place prize of $100.

The Lonoke team of Kendall DePriest, Meadow Lake, Spencer Pepper, Mary Roland and Blake Solee shared a second-place prize of $50, as did the Beebe team of Rainey Brittain and Laiya Freeman.

Winning teams in the elementary, middle and high school divisions from six state regions were honored at the banquet.

According to the state coordinator for the Stock Market Game, Marsha Masters, more than 4,000 students participated in this round of the game. Another round is starting, and she expects about 5,000 state students to participate. “We always get more in the spring,” Masters said.

For Warren Dupree, it was the second time in three semesters that the school had a first place team in the competition. It also won the region in the winter of 2013.

“When we started the stock market game, I did not know a thing about it, but, when we started our discussions, research and looking for just the right stocks, all of a sudden I knew a lot,” said Warren Dupree student Ja’Paris Galmore.

Her classmate, A’leah Williams, added, “We learned to think with our heads and not our hearts. We found Apple, which had great numbers and helped us a lot. But we also bought Facebook because all of us like getting on it. But it didn’t do as well. It was a heart pick, instead of a head pick.”

The third girl on the team, Bianca Johnson, said, “We found six stocks. Four were definitely good and two were so-so. Our teacher told us not to buy the so-so stocks. Luckily, we didn’t listen to him and took first.”

The only fellow on the Warren Dupree team was Steven Garry. He said, “Our team name was the Divas and the Dude. I was the dude. As the only guy, I just stood back and supervised and it worked.”

According to Lonoke’s teacher and team adviser Pam Chandler, it was the first time Lonoke students had played the game. They had a lot of fun learning, so the school has already signed up to play the next round, she said.

Spencer Pepper was the CEO of the Lonoke team of five fifth graders that turned a tidy profit of about $8,000.

He said he enjoyed getting to learn about the stock market. The rest of his teammates agreed that Pepper would be the one most likely to become a stockbroker or invest heavily in real life because of the game experience.

“I liked the research,” teammate Mary Roland said.

Teammate Meadow Lake agreed. “It was fun and informative to keep the graphs and charts,” she said.

Blake Solee, also on the Lonoke team, said it increased his math skills.

Another teammate, Kendall DePriest, called the whole roller-coaster feel of the game “real life and it was crazy.”

The team was first on the morning of the last day, but their stocks settled lower that afternoon and the Warren Dupree team overtook them.

Lydia Brumfield, the teacher and team advisor for the Beebe team, said, “Before this economics unit, my students knew nearly nothing about the stock market. They were interested to learn that their money could be invested in companies they know and love. Throughout this process, the students’ skills and knowledge increased in the areas of economics, personal finance, technology, math, critical thinking and teamwork.”

Brumfield added, “Throughout our lessons, activities and playing of the Stock Market Game, the students are now able to identify reasons for saving and investing, explain the importance of investing to build wealth and meet financial goals and compare and contrast methods of saving and investing. They are able to decipher between public and private companies, read stock charts, name the sector, identify the ticker symbol, recognize the brands owned by a company, take into consideration the analyst’s opinions, consider the risk rating and make a decision as to whether they think a stock would be a wise investment or not.”

At Beebe, there was a secondary offshoot of the game as part of their economics unit. “It helped students through the process of starting their own business and giving them the opportunity to bring it to life at the Beebe Marketplace, set up in our cafeteria during parent/teacher conferences.

“Many lessons were learned through this real life experience. After the event, students had to pay back their loan, booth lease and advertising fee. Then they got to keep their profits, ranging anywhere from $6 to $410. Several students told me that they would like to talk with their parents about investing their profits, instead of spending it all.”