Gladstone students best in state in stock market game

GLADSTONE — Five Gladstone High School economics students placed first and second in the Michigan division of the Stock Market Game.

The Stock Market Game, a program from the SIFMA Foundation offered to students across the country, teaches students about investing money rather than spending it.

“One of the best ways to teach kids that they probably shouldn’t be putting money into just a bank account as they prepare for retirement is to let them have access to this game. So they can see what investing in markets can do versus just putting the money in an interest bearing savings account,” said Erika Fix, the economics teacher at Gladstone High School.

Participating in the game is part of Gladstone’s financial literacy initiative. One of the many goals of the initiative is to educate the Gladstone students in order to create a strong personal financial foundation.

At the beginning of the school year students who play are given $100,000 fictional money to invest in a real-time online game based off of the real Stock Market.

“While we are celebrating financial literacy month the game ends and the winners are announced — and Gladstone got the first and second place in the state this year,” Fix said.

A total of 688 teams from throughout Michigan competed, with 40 of those teams from the Gladstone High School.

In first place was a team of three — Maddie Ahlgren, Abbi Helman and Thomas Claycomb. The juniors ended with a portfolio value of $123,284.25 from investing in technology companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, Netflix and Disney.

“They ended with a total of $123,000, so they made $23,000 in (seven) months,” Fix said.

In second place was a team of two juniors — Andie Balenger and Kyle Van Brocklin. They ended with a portfolio value of $118,467.40.

James Maki, a senior at Gladstone High School who has played the game, said the game teaches students the risk of investing also.

“It shows them, yes you could win but you could also lose. Because, you know, they just got lucky. Anyone could have done exactly what they did, or they could have invested into those companies and lost big time,” he said.

Fix explained Gladstone has been participating in the game for decades and the last time a team from Gladstone won was during the 2016-2017 school year.

“These kids are so proud of themselves, but I think it’s really neat to have them get competitive and it keeps them motivated when they’re in a competition. We don’t get to win every year by any means, so it is something special when we win a state honor,” she said.

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