GUILFORD, Maine — Zack Fortier is a savvy trader who knows quite well the meanings of big board, bull market, insider trading, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Along with his sixth-grade classmates, Fortier managed to make a combined $15,278 in virtual dollars in about two months in the Stock Market Game, bumping Piscataquis Community Middle School to the top in the state competition for the second consecutive year. The game ended last week.
“It’s nice having a chance to have the kids get recognized. That’s great and wonderful, but the most important thing of all is to give these kids an opportunity to be equipped for later on when they assume their roles in society,” Rex Webb, a PCMS teacher and Stock Market Game adviser, said this week.
The Stock Market Game is sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Pupils who participate in it invest a hypothetical $100,000 in stocks. Just as adults do in the real world, the pupils invest their money with companies they have researched and selected.
At PCMS, the pupils were divided into 18 teams, and each team was given the hypothetical $100,000 to invest. Of those teams, seven placed in the top 20, which included first and second place.
In addition to PCMS, schools participating in the state game this year were Bay Ridge Elementary School in Cutler, Wells Junior High School, Jordan-Small Middle School in Raymond, Waterville Junior High School, Surry Elementary School, Conners-Emerson School in Bar Harbor, Forest Hills Consolidated School in Jackman, Loranger Middle School in Old Orchard Beach, Buckfield Junior-Senior High School and Winslow Junior High School.
“This gives them an opportunity to have exposure in something, that if they choose, they can be involved in, and it may make the difference in giving them an opportunity to have a good quality of life later on,” Webb said.
Webb said everyone hears about the stock market and Wall Street at one time or another, but the Stock Market Game gives pupils an opportunity to virtually participate so they understand the process and how it operates.
Student Katie Haley said she and classmates quickly learned how important it is to buy low and sell high.
Fortier said his group found that it’s best to invest in technology that everyone will use, he said.
Student Cheslea Nichols said she learned the events that occur around the world greatly affect the stock market, noting the dive Toyota took after its big recall.
Regardless of how the class performed, Fortier said it was “neat” that he would be able to use what he learned about the stock market to improve his life in future years.