West Seaford students finish first statewide. Are you smarter (at investing) than a fifth grader?

By Daniel Richardson

Before making your next investment decision, you might want to consult with West Seaford Elementary students Kristie Beyer, Darnell Savage, Gretchen Daehn and Matthew Lorenzo. Their on-line portfolio grew $9,000 from October to December. Their portfolio is, of course, hypothetical. The University of Delaware twice a year holds The Stock Market Game for all of Delaware. Every public or private school in the state is eligible for participation. High school, middle school and elementary school students from schools all over Delaware form teams and are given a hypothetical $100,000 with which to invest in the real stock market. The students manage the portfolio through The Stock Market Game's website. The Stock Market game is held in every state and is available worldwide. The game was created by the Foundation for Investor Education, a nonprofit that provides educational re sources for investors of all ages. The University of Delaware has been making the program available to educators in the state for over 20 years. Eighty Five teams participated in Delaware this year and the group from West Seaford won first place.

"They invested very conservatively," said Renee Clark, the student's SPARK teacher who supervises the game at West Seaford. "I think that is why they won." The students invest in common stocks from the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and AMEX. They monitor their stocks by reading the newspaper, watching national news networks and using the internet. The group of fifth grade students mainly invested in tech stocks like Apple and Microsoft. Group members said that their success was due in part to Darnell Savage convincing them to buy stock in Sony. "They bought Sony low and sold it about a week before it fell," said Clarke. The group held onto most of their stocks during the 12-week-long game. "The ones (stocks) we kept made money," said Kristie Beyer. "We were really surprised that we were first, because we didn't sell much," said Gretchen Daehn. Clarke said that Ralph Palmer had helped the group by finding materials for their research. The students will be rewarded in a ceremony at the University of Delaware at the end of January.

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