Sheridan students win statewide stock market game

If you’re looking for investment advice, a couple of juniors at Sheridan High School might be able to point you in the right direction.

Nathan Allhands and Kenneth Schandelmeier recently won a stock market game sponsored by the Montana Council on Economic Education.

The rules of the game were pretty simple. Each team of students received a mythical $100,000 to invest, said Sheridan High School business teacher Sarah Layng.

“They could invest in any stocks or mutual funds and they had to have a minimum of five companies or funds in their portfolio,” Layng said.

She had four teams in her business class and for 10 weeks teams worked on buying and selling stock and monitoring their investments, she said.

“It’s kind of fun to see them actually come into class in the morning before the bell rings and load up the computer and read the news,” Layng said.

The students monitored the national news to look for any moves that may impact the market and the economy, she said.

For instance, the recent announcement that the Federal Reserve would buy $600 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds was discussed at length in her class.

Allhands and Schandelmeier made some of the riskier investments to start with, she said. They bought stock in American Airlines, Boyd Gaming Company and IMAX along with some real estate companies. They struggled for a bit, but stuck to their guns and their investments paid off.

“All of a sudden one day we came in and pulled up the rankings and they were in first place,” Layng said.

Allhands and Schandelmeier had some basic knowledge of the economy to begin with, she said. But that’s not the case with all of her students. She uses the game as a tool to engage students not only about the stock market, but the greater economy.

“We had a lot of different lessons that got really in-depth in the stock market and the economy,” Layng said.

Understanding the economy is difficult and can be confusing, but really meshes together a couple of different school subjects including math and social studies.

“There’s a push out there to make economic literacy a required course in high school,” she said. “I think it’s part of the American citizen’s responsibility, especially if you vote, that you do have to have a basic understanding of economics.”

After 10 weeks, Allhands and Schandelmeier had turned their $100,000 investment into $142,052.92. The team will win $100 and T-shirts. They beat out 134 other teams across the state.

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