Young NH investors learn stock market smarts
MERRIMACK - Young investors were rewarded for their financial wits and good, old-fashioned luck Tuesday. Several students from throughout New Hampshire were chosen as the 2013 Smart Market award winners, having the opportunity to tour the 500-acre campus at Fidelity Investments in Merrimack as a reward.
Teams from four schools were selected by Fidelity Investments as the top winners for this year's Smart Market program, part of the New Hampshire Union Leader's Newspapers in Education Initiative.
The Smart Market program offers students the opportunity to invest an imaginary $100,000 into the stock market. Students are encouraged to research their stocks using the newspaper and other media to monitor the effect of current events on their investments.
"Trading stocks and bonds is a critical skill to have. It was a blast doing this whole project, especially with a little bit of friendly competition in the classroom," said Will Humphrey, a ninth-grader at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan. Humphrey's team, Big Dogs, earned a profit of $28,710 to win the top high school team award. The group invested in Orient Express Hotels, a luxury hotel chain that was about to be acquired by another company.
"We worked together as a team and learned how to invest, and fortunately for us, it turned out to be successful," said Humphrey's classmate, Chris Alberigi. "It was a really good learning experience."
Honored with a pizza party and awards ceremony on Tuesday, the winning teams were recognized for their wise investment choices. They also had the opportunity to speak with Fidelity employees about their careers as financial planners.
Joe Murray, director of public affairs at Fidelity Investments, thanked Fidelity employees for providing young students with a snapshot of what the company is all about, and for taking time to visit their classrooms and promote the importance of investing and saving. "Real world aspects need to be shown and offered in the classroom," agreed Michael Bryant, fifth-grade teacher at Southwick School in Northfield. "This program is about showing kids how math has a function and a place outside of the classroom, specifically in the stock market. It also incorporates reading, current events, geography and newspapers."
Students from Southwick School chose to invest their pretend money in Walmart, and gained significant returns following Hurricane Sandy and the need to purchase bottled water, flashlights and batteries.
"We were so excited to win an award," said Emilee Martin, a fifth-grader at Southwick School.
Martin, along with her classmate Jenna Wilson, were honored with the Union Leader Headliner Award for making a direct connection between current events and their stock selection.
Other top teams included: Team Spongebob Noodles from St. Casimir School in Manchester, bringing in a $6,487 profit for the elementary competition; Team RS from Cardigan Mountain School, gathering a $50,069 profit for the middle school division; Team Big Dogs from Cardigan Mountain School, which earned a $28,710 profit for the high school division; and a team from Errol Consolidated School that took home the Fidelity Financial Education Award for going above and beyond the stock market project. About 35 schools and 50 teams statewide participated in the Smart Market program, according to Shannon Sullivan, community relations manager for the New Hampshire Union Leader. Teams had only 10 weeks to monitor their investments.