The Stock Market Game

To buy or to sell? That is the question many adults may ask themselves when it comes to the Stock Market.

Local high school and middle school students recently stepped up to the challenge and competed in the Stock Market Game.

The Stock Market Game is an award-winning educational program from Economics Pennsylvania, a non-profit organization specializing in kindergarten through grade 12 economic and financial literacy across the state. The goal is to promote and encourage understanding of economic and financial literacy programs. Since 1977, more than 14 million students have participated in The Stock Market Game challenge.

The local challenge was sponsored by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and FNB Bank.

Teams from East Lycoming, Loyalsock Township, Montoursville, Montogomery, Muncy, Williamsport and South Williamsport participated in the challenge. Teams of three to five students each were given a virtual cash amount of $100,000 in February, and competed to create the best-performing portfolio using live trading simulation.

“The schools got really excited,” Carolyn Shirk said.

The students built their portfolios through stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Due to the short time frame of 10 weeks, most of the students decided to buy and sell stocks. Many of the students learned that just because a stock is popular at the time does not mean that it is smart to buy.

The competition was very close. Montgomery Area High School had been in the lead for a majority of the challenge, and many thought they were sure to win the competition.

On the last day of the competition, Lewisburg Area High School swooped in and took the lead and claimed first place in the state competition, leaving Montgomery Area High School in second with a total equity of $384,935.56.

“It was like a NASCAR race,” Shirk said.

At the awards ceremony at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Bryan Holmes, president of FNB Bank and Bernard A. Oravec, publisher of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, spoke to students, who could attend the event, about what a great learning opportunities the students had through the challenge.

“I can assure you that what you learn today, you will remember it five to eight years down the road,” Oravec said.

Holmes also spoke about the importance of saving money. He told the students that over 50 percent of Americans have very little in savings and 28 percent have nothing in savings.

“In the world we live in, it is we want it now,” Holmes said.

He told the students that it will help them in the long run to save more and spend less.

“Everyone is affected by the daily movement of the stock market,” Oravec said, “The Sun-Gazette has always supported area school district efforts to prepare young men and women for the future”

Shirk said that she hopes the students took away better understand of how economy works after competing in the Stock Market Challenge.

The Stock Market Game

Local results for the week of April 28:

High school

1. MONTGOMERY – $420,200.25

Ryan Monoski

2. HUGHESVILLE – $116,153.42

Matthew Yoder

3. MUNCY – $111,895.90

Beth Baker

Middle school

1. MONTGOMERY – $135,359.00

Jeremy Stetler

2. MUNCY – $104,301.95

Beth Baker

3. WILLIAMSPORT – $99,376.06

Robert Rook

Each week, the Sun-Gazette will publish the top three teams from local middle and high schools that are participating in The Stock Market Game.

In the Stock Market Game, students are given a virtual cash account of $100,000 and are encouraged to create the best-performing portfolio using a live trading simulation.

Students work together in teams, practicing leadership, organization, negotiation and cooperation as they compete for the top spot.

In building a portfolio, students research and evaluate stocks, and make decisions based on what they’ve learned.

Teams trade common stocks and mutual funds from the NYSE and NASDAQ exchanges; earn interest on cash balances; pay interest if buying on margin and pay a commission on all trades.

To determine why certain stocks perform the way they do, or why the broader market has moved up or down, they need to understand how the economy works, and to calculate their returns they need to do the math.

Since 1977, more than 14 million students have participated in The Stock Market Game program.

Locally, the program is sponsored by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, and FNB Bank.