Published Sunday, January 13, 2013
By REBECCA LEFTWICH
A couple of weeks into The Stock Market Game, Beverly Head was having second thoughts.
It didn’t help that when the Northside Elementary REACH teacher called a colleague in another district for guidance, he was shocked she had undertaken the competition with her young fifth-grade teams.
“But we showed him!” said a triumphant Lauryn Roland, who along with teammates Brandon Shaw and Justin Young came back from “tanking” at the beginning to finishing in first place out of 70 teams in Coweta County and 28th out of more than 3,900 teams across Georgia.
The trio – and three other Northside REACH teams, as well as other elementary, middle and high school teams participating in the competition – immersed themselves in the world of finance for the 10-week project, which required heavy math and research skills.
“They had to calculate the cost of stocks and fees, and they had to do percentages,” Head said. “They also had to research to make sure their stocks met certain criteria.”
Along the way, the students learned to categorize stocks – transportation, electronics, retail, farm, industry – and how stock values can be influenced by everything from time of year to the weather.
Although each team bought and sold stock separately – rotating math and purchasing skills among the three members each week – Head allowed all of her REACH participants to their research as a group.
“The first couple of weeks were tough,” Head said. “But as they started understanding better and getting more comfortable, they improved each week.”
In the end, it was a combination of Hurricane Sandy and a fifth-grade hunch that turned the tide for the winning team.
“I went home to research stocks, and my dad said it was the wrong time of year to invest in transportation stock,” Young said. “But I just felt like we should buy it, so we did.”
Hurricane Sandy displaced hundreds of families, caused millions of dollars in damage and required emergency and building supplies.
As a result, Young’s team earned $31,000 from a combination of Winnebago, railroad and electronics stock to top the competition.
Roland, Young and Shaw all say they are good at math – even though Roland said she “doesn’t like it” – but that participating in the Stock Market Game made honing their skills fun.
Young’s favorite part of the experience?
“The part about winning,” he said.
Shaw is looking forward to his.
“Mine hasn’t come yet,” Shaw said, adding he is looking forward to the meal provided by the game’s sponsors, which have invited the Northside team to a May luncheon in Atlanta to honor the students’ success.