The Press Newspaper
Imagine making nearly $16,000, a 16 percent return, in just two months investing in the stock market.
Over one year, that would equate to 96 percent growth, which would make any investor giddy.
Four Eastwood Middle School “stock market tycoons” did that in the Ohio Stock Market Game, and their earnings were better than 1,301 other scholastic teams from across the state.
Shawn Van Vorce, Chris Orcutt, Sarah Parsons, and Lindsey King not only won the regional and state middle school championships; they scored better than every high school team in Ohio.
Each team was given $100,000 to invest, and the Eastwood quad ended a two month period with $115,947.03 in total equity, a 12.635 percent return above the performance of the S&P 500 over that same period, Feb. 21-Apr. 27.
“I knew that we were close, near the top, but I didn’t think that we would be at the top,” King said.
Van Vorce added, “Region-wise, we were pretty happy when we hit first in the region, and then he (advisor Shaun Briggs) checked the rankings statewide, and we noticed we were 80th and then we went down to 60th, and in a couple days down to 40th and 20th, and we finally got into the top 10,” Van Vorce said.
Orcutt added, “Sometimes we’d be fourth or seventh, then we’d be back up to 60th, because Apple would be up or down.”
Van Vorce continued, “This is pretty real. I mean, we don’t really have the money, but we are buying real stocks on the market and real things are happening, whether they go low or high on the stock market.”
The school planned an assembly Thursday to honor the foursome. Briggs said part of their prize will be $50 in cash — a small consolation compared to the $16,000 they would have earned had the money been real.
The game is hosted by the University of Cincinnati Economics Center. Of the top 100 performers, 66 are high school teams and most are in Central and Southwest Ohio.
Anthony Wayne High School finished fifth overall with $112,561.26, and the second best middle school team, Cincinnati Country Day, finished 10th with $111,226.52 in equity.
The Eastwood students participate in the Penta Vocational School’s Career Based Intervention program, which is comparable to the DECA program at the high school level.
“We do a lot of real life situations and take a look at a lot of different careers,” Briggs said. “This part of the curriculum I’m doing right now is more of just giving the students an idea of what it takes to do investments. This is kind of a fun, interactive game, hands on. The students really enjoy working as a team and trying to come up with ideas that will help them.”
Van Vorce said, “We absolutely love CBI. We can do whatever we want pretty much. School-wise, he (Briggs) can help us with our homework. He’s a pretty smart guy. And, we learn careers. Some kids hate projects, but this is definitely hands-on, and a lot of field trips that are a blast to see how workers do what they do in the workplace, and how hard it is, and that’s what we love.”
Briggs is a Penta employee stationed at Eastwood. The winning foursome was one of three Eastwood MS teams that competed.
One of the other teams placed in the top 10 among middle schools in the region, but Briggs said what this foursome accomplished is almost incomprehensible.
“I’ve been doing this for seven years, and I probably have not had anybody inside the top 10 (overall) at all. We’ve had some people make the top 20, but nothing of this caliber,” Briggs said.
The group won the championship riding out Apple and Google stock. They also had stock in Cabelas and Pepsi when the contest ended. Briggs advised, but the students made their own decisions.
“We were looking for a little bit of low risk to ride it out at the beginning, and then we saw Apple and Google, which are high risk,” Van Vorce said. “At first, I guess you could say we weren’t into it very much, until we actually started making a little bit of money, and then we got into it. Everybody else was buying stock while we were riding it out to see how we were doing.
“Everybody else was taking the low to medium risk so they could add more stocks and try to make as much money as we were, or as much money as they could. But we thought if we took high risk, we could personally in our own group look over the stocks and say, ‘Well, Mr. Briggs taught us how to look over them and if they are at their low, you buy them, and you sell them when they are high.’ Apple happened to be releasing their new iPad and they were making money.
“Mostly what we did was we kept riding them out. Two weeks ago, Apple finally hit its top at 602, and we were pretty happy at that point. We made about $12 grand, and it was going up and down, up and down. Then it finally hit 630, and it was going up and down, and we just kept riding them out.
“Some kids had like 10, 15 stocks, and Mr. Briggs told us that you guys could probably make more money if you buy more stocks, but we said, ‘Well, we are in first place in our region at the moment. Why buy more stocks?’ So, we did invest in more stocks, like Apple, and that’s basically how we made more money.”
The team met officially once a week to discuss which stocks to buy or sell, but also communicated on an informal basis daily while checking their results on iPads.
The students say they now they have a new outlook on the stock market.
“I didn’t know anything about stocks, except for what’s on the news when they give those little briefs about what is going up and down. But, I learned that they are actually a big part of the economy and current events really affect them greatly,” Parsons said.
Orcutt added, “I really didn’t know anything about it until Mr. Briggs taught it. I always thought they were confusing, and I never really knew how to read them. He knew out of all of us how best to read them. He would recommend a stock, and we would look over it and decide if we wanted to buy it or not. He knew what the range was and all of that. Most of all, I think we learned a lot about teamwork, because we all have individual partners for this and it was neat to work with everybody.”
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