The North Bellmore School District boasted the top three teams from Long Island in the 2021 Stock Market Game, sponsored by the SIFMA Foundation. Students participated from September through April in the simulation in which they invest fictitious money in real stocks.
Fifth and sixth graders in the ALPHA gifted and talented program, as well as sixth graders from Martin Avenue Elementary School, competed in this year’s game. North Bellmore had 16 of the 158 teams, including the first-, second- and third-place finishers. Teams were ranked based on their percentage of return above or below the growth of the S&P 500. Each team started out with $100,000.
Gayle Angert, sixth grade teacher at Martin Avenue and the district’s ALPHA teacher, said North Bellmore students have been participating in the Stock Market Game for the past seven years as an introduction to financial management. Since this year’s ALPHA program is held virtually after school, students from those teams met via videoconference.
The first-place team, from the ALPHA program, consisted of fifth graders Lily Boehm, Sofia Galarza, Emma Jaskowiak and Dahlia Petroro from Saw Mill Road Elementary School and Scarlett Wilson from Park Avenue Elementary School. They finished with a total of $176,455 and a 55% rate of return above the S&P 500 growth.
Ms. Angert noted how close the top two teams were, with only $800 separating them. The second-place team, also from the ALPHA program, consisted of sixth graders Kamil Chaudhary and Brian Niedfeld from John G. Dinkelmeyer Elementary School and Elias Katz and Erik O’Sullivan from Martin Avenue. Their rate of return above the S&P 500 was also close behind, at 54%.
Third place went to a team of sixth graders from Martin Avenue – Ryan Ascher, Elias Katz, Matteo LaSpina and Nicholas Pascalli. They finished with $153,404 and a 29% rate of return above the S&P 500.
Among the 2,022 teams from all of New York State who competed, the three teams ranked 17th , 18th and 27th, respectively.
“Our savvy traders swept the top three sports out of more than 150 middle school teams,” Ms. Angert said. “Every team had different strategies. We are so proud of all of the participants.”
From the first-place team, Lily, Sofia, Emma, Dahlia and Scarlett said the experience was a lot of fun and they learned about the importance of teamwork. They had to come together to make important decisions including what stocks to buy, how much to buy and how to spend their money wisely. The group chats were often spent analyzing information to see how their investments were going.
Many of the teams made their money from Game Stop. Erik noted that his team bought 1,000 shares at $11, and they would have actually made even more if they sold their stock later, which could have put them over the top. One of the rules of the Stock Market Game is that teams could invest no more than one-third of their money in a single stock, so they had to diversify.
“Every day we would check to see how the stocks were doing,” Erik said. “It was exciting.”
The young investors learned how to identify market trends and how current events affect the financial world. They also explored careers in the financial industry and how the stock market can work for them as adults for investment opportunities.
“It was a really good learning experience,” Matteo said. “It helped me with teamwork because you had to communicate with your team to decide what is a good stock and what is not a good stock.”