Two fifth graders at Kelly Mill Elementary School were recently honored after placing nationally in a financial analytics essay contest offered by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, or SIFMA Foundation, a financial education organization.
Kendall Olson, 10, and Megha Goddu, 9, both of whom are taught by fifth grade teacher Shannon Knight, placed seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Foundation’s fall InvestWrite competition, a contest aimed at producing thoughtful analysis of “real world financial issues and situations.”
The competition, which asks students about long-term saving and investing, is the culmination of SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game, an “online simulation of the global capital markets,” its website says.
Knight said at the beginning of the 10-week game, students are given $100,000 in virtual money and asked to research various stocks and the stock market, which they then must invest in to build a portfolio.
“The kids use real-time figures to invest their virtual money and the winners are the team with the highest [value] portfolio,” she said. “The essay competition goes along with the game — they’re given the topic that has to do with the stock market and they have to write an essay.
“Thirty-three of my students participated in the game and all wrote the essay, but you’re only allowed to submit 10 from a class, so I sent in the top 10. Over 2,000 essays were submitted at the elementary level nationally.”
Olson placed first in the state for her essay, which examined the origins of online auctioneer eBay and its stocks, bonds and mutual funds, with Goddu choosing to look at the activewear company Adidas.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” Knight said. “They’re great students and they work really hard and it’s always nice to see your kids recognized.”
Two other of Knight’s students — Caleb Owens and Hunter Wood — won at the regional level in the Stock Market Game, something of which Knight said she was also proud.
Knight said she values the merit of the game and the essay contest.
“I think it helps students make real-world connections to things that they study,” she said. “Some of [what is covered] in fifth grade social studies is the stock market crash, and while math is also involved, this provides them with a real-world connection to things, like the crash, they study in social studies.”
Olson and Goddu received a medal, a trophy and a $100 gift card for their wins, which were awarded on May 2 at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta.