Mock stock market challenges students

Douglas County students compete in lively contest

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A Mountain Vista High School team won a first place in the Nov. 7 Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge. The 10th annual event drew 220 teams of students from around the metro area to a mock version of the trading floor recreated at the University of Denver’s Cable Center.

Participating Douglas County high schools included Rock Canyon, Douglas County, Castle View, Ponderosa, ThunderRidge and Highlands Ranch.

Teams compete to grow a mock portfolio to its highest net worth, investing $500,000 in stock in 26 fictitious companies. The event condenses two months of trading into an hour, with each trading day lasting about a minute. Periodic news releases are issued to reflect fictitious world events and industry developments, causing stock prices to fluctuate.

“Beyond teaching them the obvious, like teaching them about capital markets, how the stock market works and individual wealth building, they’re working as a team,” said Robin Wise, CEO of Rocky Mountain Junior Achievement, “learning things like critical thinking, problem solving, competing, working in teams. Competition is an integrated aspect of business.”

The event is tailor-made for the at-risk students in Highlands Ranch High School’s Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE) program, said ACE teacher Joe Chandler.

“These students feel disenfranchised, either because of a tough academic or tough home program,” Chandler said. “For most of them, school lacks relevance. They see the world from a very practical point of view.

“Here, they get to see how money is a tool, how to use money to make money. They see that they can compete as well as anybody else. When they see that, they are enormously motivated.”

Chandler’s students, eyes trained on the board when they weren’t leaning toward one another to strategize, affirmed his observations.

“This is completely new to me,” Collin O’Brien said. “Everything’s really exciting and fun.”

Other participating Douglas County schools included ThunderRidge, Rock Canyon, Douglas County, Castle View and Ponderosa high schools.