Elk Grove High School students take first in stock market competition

Members of Elk Grove High School's winning team in The Stock Market Game (SMG) program’s online competition for high school students in the northwest suburbs.

After learning about stocks as part of their personal finance class, five students from Elk Grove High School took first place this fall in a regional stock market competition.

The team of Lauren Clausen, Shane Crimmins, Dean Fries, Emma Halfman and Nicholas Hofmann bested 950 other student teams in The Stock Market Game (SMG) program’s online competition for high school students in the northwest suburbs.

The team increased their hypothetical $100,000 cash to a final portfolio equity of $116,500 during the three-month competition that challenged students to pick stocks they felt would grow based on seasonal demand, current events and research.

Elk Grove’s business teacher Joshua Watson said students conducted research in and out of class to better understand the volatility of the stock market. Students then used concepts learned in class such as diversification to make educated investing decisions. The goal of the competition is to help students build real-world financial skills.

“We want the stock market game content to be engaging, meaningful and useful in students everyday lives,” said Watson. “We also want students to understand how current events in the world impact financial markets.”

Econ Illinois, a statewide organization associated with Northern Illinois University, organizes The SMG program, which is designed for 4th through 12th grade teachers and their students.

Elk Grove students compete in both the fall and spring SMG competitions as part of their Personal Finance class. This year’s winning Elk Grove team consisted of sophomores through seniors.

Fries, a sophomore, said his Personal Finance class has helped him learn the importance of managing income, researching before making buying decisions and ways to grow his money. “It will help me make better financial decisions in the future,” he said.

During the competition, students on the first-place team said they researched the highs and lows of various stocks for the past year. “We looked at any stocks that were in demand for a particular season of the year and the news about each stock to see how the prices were impacted,” said Halfman, a junior.

Team members said they are proud of winning the contest for their school.

“We put a lot of work into researching and tracking our stocks and it was great to see it pay off in the end,” said Clausen.

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