Buy or sell: Local fifth graders win top prizes for stock market essays

They buy and sell stocks with a calculated approach, keep a watchful eye on market trends, and know how to make a profit of thousands – and they’re only in fifth grade.

Fifth grader MoMo Farmer's essay was chosen from among 9,000 others. (photo by Rachel Ham)

Fifth grader MoMo Farmer’s essay was chosen from among 9,000 others. (photo by Rachel Ham)

The stock market team at Chapin Intermediate School netted a profit and first place during this year’s Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Foundation Stock Market Game. Local schools can play in the Stock Market Game, an online simulation of the global capital markets, through a partnership with the South Carolina Council on Economic Education.

Students in Yvonne Strange and Heather Sansbury’s classes have been a top team in the Stock Market Game on several occasions, but they had the chance for the first time this year to enter InvestWrite, an essay competition that spins off of the game.

Two Chapin Intermediate students, MoMo Farmer and Lexi Becker, landed in the top 10 nationally and heard their names called during an assembly by surprise guest Melanie Mortimer, president of the SIFMA Foundation. They won prizes including a new camera, new laptop, pizza party for their class and gift cards.

Strange said the girls’ wins were a difficult secret to keep during the last month.

“It’s a dream come true,” she said.

[cp_quote style=”quote_left_dark”]”Early investing brings the greatest returns.” – Melanie Mortimer, president of the SIFMA Foundation[/cp_quote]

Farmer’s essay on the long-term investment benefits of Amazon won first place out of about 9,000 essays. The fifth grader said learning about the stock market in an advanced math class was challenging at first, but she later discovered she had a knack for seeing important trends and making predictions.

“I started to get the hang of it,” she said. “It’s fun to learn about real life.”

Farmer said Amazon’s donating to charity made her feel confident about its success as a long-term investment.

Becker, who finished in 10th place nationally, said she wasn’t sure Mortimer had called the right name.

Lexi Becker finished 10th in the nation in the elementary division. (photo by Rachel Ham)

Lexi Becker finished 10th in the nation in the elementary division. (photo by Rachel Ham)

“I thought, ‘Whoa – was that me?!'” she said.

Becker wrote her essay on long-term investment about Target because she said it’s a consistent stock.

“I like to learn about the stock market because it’s different than math or science … You get to take risks,” she said. “It’s more fun.”

Mortimer said the students’ aptitude for investing shows it is “not adults-only territory.”

“It’s a matter of getting them engaged with something real-world,” she said. “Early investing brings the greatest returns.”

“InvestWrite and the Stock Market Game provide opportunities for my students to apply and use workplace skills that future employers will require,” Strange agreed.




Categories: Education, Lexington County, Local News