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GHS student wins stock trading competition

Owen Richardson with the certificate, medal, and banner he received after winning the regional title in The Stock Market Game. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
February 24, 2021
A Gilford High School student made a simulated killing on Wall Street and won the state title in a national stock market competition.

GHS junior Owen Richardson took the top spot in New Hampshire over 550 other teams in The Stock Market Game, a national contest put on by the Security Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). The contest is a stock investment simulator where students get a virtual $100,000 to trade in any stock on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ with certain rules. The students who made the most virtual money at the end of the contest won.

Richardson won in his region, ending the game with a virtual $165,000 after carefully trading a number of stocks.

Business teacher Steve O'Riordan's business class does a unit on business ownership, which includes stocks and publicly traded companies. O'Riordan said this is the third time GHS has had a winner in this competition, though the first one in recent memory.

"The whole point of it all is for them to learn investing money every week over the rest of their lives can accumulate wealth," O'Riordan said.

When the Stock Market Game was introduced to students, O'Riordan said he taught the students stocks are a matter of supply and demand.

Stocks have been especially in the news lately with the surge of GameStop and other company's stocks.

"We have students in high school right now that are engaged in the stock market," said GHS Principal Anthony Sperazzo. "It's been in the headlines especially with GameStop."

O'Riordan advised the students so start investing in products they're familiar with and said he would rather that students didn't take the same buying and selling practices of day traders in this game.

Richardson said he wasn't that familiar with stocks before coming into the class but learned a lot in the process.

"It definitely taught me a lot about the stock market," Richardson said.

Richardson said he went into the game considering the election and what stocks would be worth more depending on if Donald Trump or Joe Biden won. With Pres. Biden winning the election, Richardson said he invested in Moderna's stocks and stocks related to solar energy.

O'Riordan said the investment in Moderna, which produces a COVID-19 vaccine, was an example of foresight. Moderna's stock was around $69 a share when Richardson first bought it and by the end it was closer to $169 a share.

"They're playing to win but they're using strategy they wouldn't necessarily use in real life," O'Riordan said.

Richardson also invested in different social media platforms such as SnapChat and companies like 3M.

In the game, when a stock is purchased at 10:30 a.m. it goes into the game's system at the price it is at that time. Richardson said he was checking his stock prices every morning before class, methodically deciding how to proceed with each choice.

By the end of the game Richardson had around $165,000 in virtual money. As Richardson got closer to the end, he said there was one person from a different school who was coming from behind and looked to be closing in on him. O'Riordan said he would have been nervous for Richardson if Moderna's stock ended up tanking.

Richardson won a certificate and a medal and the school received a banner.

"I don't really win things, it's pretty nice," Richardson said, later adding, "I was lucky and it worked out."

Richardson said he learned a lot through this experience and he is thinking of getting a Junior Investment Account.

O'Riordan said he loves that the students are so interested. He said he had no idea about the stock market when he was in high school and didn't learn about it until his 20's.

"I love that I can pass it on at this age," O'Riordan said.

He recalled a statement from financial advisor and radio host Dave Ramsey who said people who invest $25 every week starting at age 18 can be millionaires by their 50's.

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