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RES Stock Market Winners learn lessons about stocks
RES Stock Market winners
RES Stock Market Challenge winners holding their t-shirts, left to right, Grace Warwick, Paityn Rigdon, Carley Johnson, and Owen Tucker, with RES Galaxy Teacher Jennifer Carlson.

Reidsville Elementary School (RES) fourth and fifth grade students Paityn Rigdon, Owen Tucker, Grace Warwick, and Carley Johnson are the fall winners of the Stock Market Challenge Game that was created in 1984 by the Georgia Council for Economic Education. They made presentations to the Tattnall County Board of Education members at their March 28 meeting.

Jennifer Carlson is the fourth and fifth grade Galaxy teacher at RES, who accompanied the student to the Board meeting.

"The goal of the program is to build financial responsibility, education, and money management skills in students across Georgia and nationwide.  Students competed in the fall and are currently competing in the spring competition that will end in ten days.  Students are placed in groups of three or four and compete for ten weeks to see who can build the highest portfolio of money.  Students were given $100,000 in electronic/virtual money to use to buy and sell stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)," Carlson said. "Students watch and study companies and how their stocks are doing.  As real company stocks rise and fall, the students' virtual investments rise and fall accordingly.  

“This game teaches students how to build a budget, manage money, when to buy and sell stocks, and about the sectors of the U.S. economy. These students invested their virtual money wisely in such an unstable economy and time. In order to qualify to win, they add to buy a minimum of 100 stocks in three companies and earn all their money back.”

Owen Tucker, the son of David and Kylie Tucker and Jennifer Tucker, commented that he learned that it was important to diversify your stocks, pointing out if you invest only in technology, you could lose all your money with one major tech virus. He reported that he learned to spread your investments across many different products, which his team did, including Target, since they thought this was a stable stock.

Grace Warwick, the daughter of Josh and Alicia Warwick and Abbie Montalvo, added that if the competition had ended three days sooner, that the RES team would not have been the winning team. When one of the other teams made a bold move and sold a lot of their Tesla stocks, this caused a market upset that changed the RES team's position to become the winners.

Carley Johnson, the daughter of Phillip and Nicole Strong of Reidsville, commented that because they were required to make back all their investments in ten weeks, this meant that the group had to choose risky stocks that might profit quickly. She said they looked for stocks that were cheap but on the rise, adding that if they saw stocks dropping in value, they sold these.  For retirement purposes, Johnson said she learned your long-term investments need to be in companies that are consistent and secure.

Paityn Rigdon, the daughter of Duston and Kasey Ridgon, took her experience in the Stock Market Game a bit further by allowing her parents to help her invest her saved allowance.  She is actually now the owner of two stocks and is anticipating what her investment of $40 can become invested when she is ten years old. Paityn said that whether her investments increase or decrease, she has "walked away from this economics unit with a lot of real life understanding of money and how the economy works."

For winning the contest, students were presented with a Stock Market Game t-shirt and a felt banner for their classroom.  Because of COVID-19 restrictions, they were not able to enjoy the traditional prize of a trip to a luncheon in Atlanta at the Fox Theater.  Instead, an online awards ceremony was held with guest speakers from various corporations.