For the second time in as many years a group of students from Isaac E. Young Middle School (New Rochelle) has won the Spring 2017 New York State: Lower Hudson Valley/Westchester County Stock Market Game. The team composed of 6th graders, Kaediah Barratt, Joseph Ulgalde-Aguilar, and Brittani Varela, finished first out of 206 middle school teams, and ranked 17th out of 1940 high school and middle school teams combined in their region. The national program starts each team out with a $100,000 to manage through investments in the stock market over a twelve-week period. Teams are ranked not only on their net profits compared to other groups, but also by their profit percentages as compared to the S&P 500 index. The team from IEYMS, who took on the nickname, "The Money Makers", finished with $115,775 in their portfolio, 12 % above the S&P 500 index.
The group was guided by their math teacher, and advisor for the project, Calvin Heyward. This is the fourth time in his tenure as an educator in New Rochelle that Mr. Heyward has seen one his groups capture top honors in the program. In any other given year, he's also seen a number of his student teams finish in the top ten in the final standings. "What I've always loved about this program is that it gives students a chance to apply learned skills to real world economics," Heyward says. "All too often you hear about young people graduating college, but they're tens-of-thousands dollars in debt, and don't know how to balance a checking account or compare credit card terms because no one has taken the time to teach them basic economics." "The Money Makers" took a very assertive, but measured approach to picking their stocks. They simply looked for stocks that were trending upwards over the three months prior to the competition, with price points between $10 and $20. Three of their best stocks included Ultra Clean Holdings (UCTT), Lands’ End (LE), and Kratos Defense and Security Systems (KTOS). While the competition ended April 28, 2017, those stocks continued to rise and would have netted the group an additional $8,000 as of the close of stock market on June 12th.
As part of an exit quiz for all his math students, even those not involved with the Stock Market Game, Mr. Heyward asked, "Suppose in the 5th grade you received one share of stock in Samsung Electronics when it was worth $1.3 million dollars and now see that one share is worth $2.4 million in 2017. What would you do with the extra $1.1 million dollars?" While many students gave admirable answers about buying homes for their families, helping the homeless, and donating to other charities, Mr. Heyward was happiest with students who said they'd reinvest the money. Yazmin Alvarez explained, "With the extra $1.1 million I would buy another share to make more money, so I’m investing to have money whenever I need it." Alberto Godoy echoed similar thoughts when he said, "I would buy more stocks with the $1.1 million dollars, so I could get more money, and with the rest give it to my children.” Mr. Heyward added, "In some ways I don't care about how the teams rank in the competition. The real joy comes in getting middle schoolers to understand that they can make money work for them, instead of them simply working for it. When someone understands that, they can build a better life for their family, and a stronger community for others."