Fifth-graders excel at stock market game

By Jason A. Smith


STOCKBRIDGE — Students at Smith-Barnes Elementary School recently learned what it takes to be successful in the stock market.

Five teams at the school participated in this year’s Georgia Stock Market Game Program. The game tests students’ skills in investing in stocks and mutual funds.

The winning team included Marisol Salvador, Christina Walker, Jahon Myers, Jace Manning and Nadiyah Timmons. Salvador said the game has helped her learn what she wants to do for a living.

“I would like to become a financial analyst, because it will give me the opportunity to make a lot of money,” she said.

Four of the teams at Smith-Barnes Elementary finished in the top four spots, said their coach, fifth-grade teacher Stanley Clark. He said Salvador, Walker, Myers, Manning and Timmons amassed a total equity of $111,102.

“The most astounding thing to me with this year’s participants is we had a total of 12 teams and we had the top four teams,” said Clark. “We were very proud. It was just amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life.”

Clark has been the teams’ coach since 2010 and has taught at Smith-Barnes Elementary since 1999. He said his students competed against others in elementary, middle and high school to see who can be the most successful at buying and selling stocks.

“Primarily in the fall, we try to see what stocks are taking off,” he said. “Once they chose their groups and we started to research different companies and how stocks were traded, it took very little input on my part to keep them interested.”

The game started in October with students allotted $100,000 to invest in stocks, mutual funds or a combination of the two. Clark said they were required to buy at least 100 shares but could sell any amount. They could research stocks at home and come to consensus before making a trade.

“They did everything as a group,” said Clark. “The team that grosses the amount of money at the end of the game wins.”

The students in the game ran into a snag almost immediately when Hurricane Sandy resulted in the stock market being closed for a few days. After it reopened, they bought and sold stocks until the game finished in early December.

Clark said the students at Smith-Barnes Elementary honed in on companies that have had their share of financial troubles as of late, including Best Buy.

“The students invested heavily in HH Gregg, which is their competitor,” he said. “One of the teams also invested heavily in Nike stock, and it just so happened that they took off.”

Timmons said although she doesn’t want to follow the same career path as Salvador, she learned a lot from the stock market game.

“I want to be a doctor when I grow up,” said Timmons. “However, I believe that knowing finance and investments is something that could help me throughout my life.”