Wall Street Comes To South

Ellen Gantenbein, Staff Writer

With the help of a grant from Wells Fargo, Mr Nohel’s Govt/Econ class has taken the opportunity to participate for the first time in SIFMA Foundation’s The Stock Market Game. Although this program has been available for years, its never been incorporated into South curriculum. “I’ve known about this for at least five years. I never was able to participate because up until this year it’s been rather expensive.” remarked Social Studies teacher Richard Nohel.

To participate students break into teams of 2-3. With 10-12 teams per class, several classes, and a fee of $25-30 per team the cost can become quite steep. “This year because they received a grant from Wells Fargo they’re able to offer the game for free so that’s why we’re doing it.” commented Nohel.

The game allots students $100,000 to “invest”. The students are free to invest in any company on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ. They may not invest more than 20% of their money in any one company, and they must buy a minimum of 100 shares of stock in each company.

“The program is designed to teach students the importance of saving and investing by building their financial literacy skills. Students manage imaginary investments online, competing against other individuals and teams both in their classroom and around the world.” states the website for the game.

Students have opportunities to meet with their groups weekly to determine what transactions they would like to make and check their progress. “One of the main emphasises we have in economics is personal finance. So this is a really good way to help students learn about how your money can grow in the stock market and how much better it grows than it does if you just put it in the bank.” stated Nohel.

“The economy is divided up into different sectors so the idea is that you get companies from as many different sectors as possible because when the economy does well pretty much everyone does well, but when the economy goes bad, if you have your stocks split up into different sectors chances are some business will continue to do well where others won’t, so you won’t lose as much. Its a much safer investment, it’s a way to minimize your risk.” elaborated Nohel. Many students kept this in mind. “We decided to, based on a suggestion from Mr. Nohel, research at least one company in a variety of different sectors of the economy in order to make a diverse profile in case a certain sector did poorly than our whole stock portfolio wouldn’t fail.” described Junior Charlie Lincoln when talking about his team’s strategy.

Students have really enjoyed participating in a more hands on approach to teaching finance and economics. “It really allows students to apply principles they’ve learned in a text book in a more tangible and enjoyable way.”commented Lincoln. Another Junior, Sheridan Moore echoed this sentiment saying ““I think it’s interesting to look at how finances and investments work”

Recently, a survey was conducted proving the following statement featured on the game’s website. “Teachers have consistently told us about the positive influence our programs have had on their students. From better attendance and increased engagement and participation in class to higher test scores and improved academic performance, there are many anecdotes about the educational impact of the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game.”

Nohel hopes his classes are able to continue to participate in this program in future years.