Students take No. 1, 6 spot in state Stock Market Game

Learning how to be savvy with your money is an invaluable skill and thanks to the lessons learned in Mr. Gregory’s Economics class, our students learned firsthand what that can mean for your bottom line.
Each year our Economics students participate in the spring Stock Market Game, a competition with regional and state levels that’s sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and the Virginia Council for Economic Education (VCEE). Student teams begin the competition with $100,000 in virtual funds to invest in stocks or bonds.
This summer, the VCEE decided to host a no-prizes, free-to-participate game. We had several students participate with two students having huge successes.
David '21 finished the game in first place in the state, finishing ahead of his initial investment by over $20,000! Classmate Nathan '21 also finished strong with more than $13,000 in returns for a sixth-place finish in the statewide rankings.
“The S&P 500 rose about 10% this summer, so David's 21.4% return and Nathan's 13.6% return both indicate that they did more than just ride the rising tide of the market. They made smart investments which outperformed the market,” said Economics Teacher Aaron Gregory.
So, we went straight to the students to find out what motivated them in the competition. Here’s what they had to say:
David is passionate about finance and recalls his interest beginning at a very young age. He hopes to be able to parlay it into a career that will provide him an enriched life. His strategy is sophisticated, but it certainly paid off.
Q | How did you decide which stocks to invest in? Why those investments?
My investment portfolio and strategies are sophisticated, so let me describe it just in a nutshell. 
My portfolio was everchanging. I set a bottom line for each stock (the bottom line is flexible and everchanging according to the performance of the stock), and I invested and sold them when the price dropped below that line; therefore, I could ensure my actions were rational. This strategy cut the losses effectively. For example, I sold Zoom before Salesforce sold their shares on Zoom (which led to a significant drop), after a while I brought it back at the dips and benefited from the recovery.
During most of the competition, U.S. tech stocks took over 50% of my portfolio because I knew the general trend at that time favored them. I used value investing strategies to select which exact company I would invest in (for some of the companies). In addition, I chose some ETFs (that was a really time-consuming process) because I knew that as a retail trader, I should follow those big guys in Wall Street because they had more information than me. Well-selected ETFs from trustworthy fund managers also contributed to my return. It’s kind of a pity that option transaction is unavailable in the contest, which made me play safe. If I can utilize options and other financial instruments, my investment strategies will be more aggressive, and I will gain more return. 
Q | What did you learn from this experience?
One of the most important things I learned is that quantitative information is vital. News is important for sure, but those are just what's on the surface, which are unlikely to give me a deep insight. To make a judicious investment or decision, I really need to dig into the numerical data, such as quantity of buys and sells, prices and price fluctuation (in percentage) of options, transactions and their volume during extended-hours trading, KDJ and MACD indicators, etc. Those data are subjective and helped me make lots of valuable conclusions. To analyze that data is time-consuming but doing this makes me savvier and further develops my sense of market. 
In addition, I developed a stable and resilient mentality that will not be affected by fluctuation in my investment. Sometimes temporary fluctuation could frighten people and lead to irrational decisions, this experience made me more rational and isolate from emotional interference when I’m trading. 
Q | What did you most enjoy in the experience?
What I enjoyed the most is the gratification that I gained from watching my money grow. I’m not really satisfied with my final return because I could earn more if I did not make several unnecessary mistakes. The biggest competitor was me.
Q | Would you do it again, and if so, why?
I would do it again, because like I mentioned above, this contest is career-oriented for me, and I enjoy it.
Classmate Nathan had a different approach from David. Nathan dabbles in the world of finance, so the competition was another opportunity for him to hone his skills while also seeing how well he would do.
Q | Why did you decide to participate in the contest?
I already day trade stocks for a profit, so I figured I’d see how well I could do in the competition. 
Q | How did you decide which stocks to invest in? Why those investments?
I decided to invest in strong, long term stocks that I wouldn’t have to check up on each day or trade on a daily basis. Investing in these brought less profit, but a confident and sturdy increase. 
Q | What did you learn from this experience?
That there is value in patience. 
Q | What did you most enjoy in the experience?
I enjoyed being able to sit back, relax and place sixth knowing that I had strong stocks. 
Q | Is there anything you wished you would have done differently?
I wish I would have thrown everything I had into Kodak. In July they jumped from $2 to $30 dollars. Then I would have won first place by a landslide. 
Q | Would you do it again, and if so, why?
I would do it again. It was an interesting summer activity to enhance my college application. 

Middle/Upper School Campus

Lower School Campus