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Students Learn How to Execute Stock Market Trades

January 2022

New Valley High School students in teacher Matt Loera’s classroom honed some new skills in their financial literacy class at the end of 2021. The 39 students participated in a stock market game, executing 453 trades with a cumulative net gain of over a quarter-million dollars in only 11 weeks. 

“I'm very proud of our 2 classes who learned a new skill and ventured into unknown territory,” said Loera. “Frankly, I am amazed at their investing prowess.”

The game — hosted on wallstreetsurvivor.com — began as a class project on September 22 and ended on December 10, 2021.  Students participated in the challenge through a private URL created just for New Valley students. Each student received a “virtual” $100K initial capital in their account, 250 trades per contestant, no trading on margin (students cannot borrow money against their capital to increase their holdings, and no crypto currency investments (primarily stocks/equities). 

Rankings could be viewed online at wallstreetsurvivor.com enabling Loera to monitor the student’s progress and view their portfolios. The three top-ranking winners in the contest were:

  • 1st place - Sohil Azimi (pictured below)
  • 2nd place - Christian Hernandez (pictured below)
  • 3rd place - David Salcedo (pictured below)

3rd place = David Salcedo 2nd place = Christian Hernandez 1st place = Sohil Azimi

“When we viewed the rankings at the end of a class period, the students had lively, educated discussions about their stock portfolios and the relative strengths of the companies they chose,” said Loera. “This is a critical part of each contest, as it gets the students talking about investment strategies and percentages (return on investment or ROI)." 

After students registered for the contest, Loera gave a full-class tutorial on investing in 1 stock and then visited with each student to show them how to make their initial trade. 

“My advice is for students to pick a company that they know and like,” explained Loera. “It is a stock-picking strategy of Warren Buffett, by the way. When we start comparing investments, the students learn about companies and products from each other, and this becomes a vital part of the learning process.”    

According to Loera, the theory is that talking about what makes a good company, and seeing how easy it is to invest in the good companies, makes investing less intimidating, and by extension more viable for many students.

The financial literacy class is a combination of intro to economics, personal finance, and consumer math (percentages, ratios, interest calculations). The summative assessment at the end of each semester is creating a personal budget (G-sheet or paper template). The emphasis in creating a personal budget is the practice of "pay yourself first" and then this is the money that would go into long-term savings and investing accounts. 

“100% of financial advisors in the world advise their clients to develop and follow a budget,” said Loera. “A personal budget is designed individually to live below your net salary (take-home money), and save for emergencies and investing.”

Loera explained that the stock game contest gives students a forum for demystifying the investing process and helps students see the importance of using a personal budget to achieve financial security through investing for the future.   

“Making our class fun and engaging is part of New Valley's mission statement,” said Loera. “Learning how to get ahead in life is a critical life skill, and to have fun doing it is a win for everyone.”