After-school program teaches stock market

Students participating in the after-school program at Patterson Park Community Center have five weeks to get the best returns they can on $100,000 in investments.

With help from Regina Harvey of Dominion Financial and Maria Edlin, of MTSU’s Center for Economic Education, the students are participating in a condensed version of the Stock Market Game. Typically 15 weeks long, students work in teams to invest a hypothetical $100,000 in listed stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Throughout the game, a program of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Foundation, students learn the value of saving and investing as they work together to maximize the return of their portfolio.

Edlin became the coordinator of the statewide competition 15 years ago. Another goal of the game, she said Monday, is to get students to think beyond short-term goals.

“It’s a hard to get them to think beyond saving for a car or paying a cell phone bill, but its important for them to start thinking early about the concept of compounded interest,” Edlin said before the start of the class inside the community center’s Myrtle Glanton Lord Library.

In the last few years, successful student teams have won by creating $20,000 to $30,000 in profit. Before the stock market tumbled in 2008, the magic number would have been upwards of $60,000, she added.

There are a few keys to having a good outcome, Edlin added.

“Most of the times (stocks) come from a company you know, like Apple, Google or Exxon,” she explained. “A lot of times, they buy what they know.

“Typically the secret to winning is to spend all your money,” Edlin added.

During the group’s initial meeting last week, participant Daquisha Norris said Harvey had them check on the performance of Nike stock every couple of days and report the findings Monday.

“It was going down when I checked on it,” Norris said, after seeing the stock was trading at $97.43 per share late Monday afternoon.

She wasn’t sure why the company’s stock may have dropped off.

“They probably haven’t come out with a shoe a lot of people want,” Norris said.

Jerome Azbell, supervisor of the MGL Library, recalled participating in the game as a high school student in West Tennessee.

“They may not think it’s something they need to know now, or that they’re even interested in, but they’ll have a lot of fun if they really embrace it,” Azbell said.

Contact Mealand Ragland-Hudgins at 615-278-5189 or mragland@dnj.com. Follow her on Twitter @dnj_mrhudgins.

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