November 14, 2014

High school ‘traders’ tout their mock-stock moxie

Windsor High School’s nickname may be the Wizards, but Boulder High’s Panthers turned out to be the wizards of Wall Street.

Five-student teams coached by Boulder High School teachers Howard and Donna Tuttle swept the top three spots in one of four sessions at the Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge, held Nov. 6-7 at the University of Denver. Forty-two area high schools participated, and the mock-trading competition was broken up into four sessions – morning and afternoon on Thursday and Friday.

The Boulder High teams ruled Thursday morning, while teams from Louisville’s Monarch High and Longmont High finished first and third that afternoon. The Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado also were represented by Niwot High, Mead High, Centaurus High in Lafayette, Centennial High in Fort Collins and Highland High from Pierce.

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The challenge, presented by Great-West Financial, is a live stock-market simulation game, and the teams compete to see who can grow their initial $500,000 investment into the largest net worth mock-stock portfolio. Students apply what they have learned in the JA Take Stock in Your Future classroom lessons on an unpredictable ride through the highs and lows of the market.

The interactive, high-tech event squeezes two months of simulated trading into two intense hours that simulate the urgent energy and excitement of the trading floor, as students signal a “trader” and watch results on a Big Board. They must react to “hot tips” and “news events” involving the companies they’re invested in, as bulletins flash that merger talks are under way, a new product is being introduced or a tsunami has occurred.

As Kim McGrigg, communications director for Junior Achievement Rocky Mountain Inc. put it, “they learn to buy on the rumors and sell on the news.”

Each of the four sessions turns out differently because of the decisions the students make, McGrigg said, and participants don’t give away tips between sessions. “That doesn’t happen,” she said. “The kids coming in are too excited about eating free Chick-fil-A at lunch.”

Windsor High School’s nickname may be the Wizards, but Boulder High’s Panthers turned out to be the wizards of Wall Street.

Five-student teams coached by Boulder High School teachers Howard and Donna Tuttle swept the top three spots in one of four sessions at the Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge, held Nov. 6-7 at the University of Denver. Forty-two area high schools participated, and the mock-trading competition was broken up into four sessions – morning and afternoon on Thursday and Friday.

The Boulder High teams ruled Thursday morning, while teams from Louisville’s Monarch High and Longmont…

Dallas Heltzell
With BizWest since 2012 and in Colorado since 1979, Dallas worked at the Longmont Times-Call, Colorado Springs Gazette, Denver Post and Public News Service. A Missouri native and Mizzou School of Journalism grad, Dallas started as a sports writer and outdoor columnist at the St. Charles (Mo.) Banner-News, then went to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before fleeing the heat and humidity for the Rockies. He especially loves covering our mountain communities.
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