A day on Wall Street: Northampton High wins 2nd straight mock stock exchange competition

  • Randy Gordon, a financial math teacher at Northampton High School, talks with Aaron Wagenheim, a student, about strategy for the a mock stock exchange. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Aaron Wagenheim, left, and Julian Clark, both students from Northampton High School, and teammates discuss which stocks they want to buy at a competition earlier this month. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Julian Clark, left, and Aaron Wagenheim, both students from Northampton High School, look at the screens of a mock stock exchange set up by Junior Achievement of Western Mass at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Tessa Pond keeps track of the stocks she and her teammates from Easthampton High School were buying and selling during a mock stock exchange. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • From left, Max Callan, 15, Phin Steiniger, 15, and Anthony Azzaro, 15, all Northampton High School, participate in a mock stock exchange. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A student from Easthampton High School looks over the stocks they bought and sold during a mock stock exchange set up by Junior Achievement of Western Mass at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • From left, Damien Diluzio, 17, Corinne Gawle, 16, Regan Healy, 17, Madison Rodriguez, 17, and Nick Soucy, all Easthampton High School students on a team together participating in a mock stock exchange set up by Junior Achievement of Western Mass at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Charlie Ryan, 17, one of the members on the winning Northampton team, buys stocks from Claudia Pereira during a mock stock exchange set up by Junior Achievement of Western Mass at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Charlie Ryan, 17, one of the members on the winning Northampton High School team, checks the boards where all the stocks are listed before making an exchange with Claudia Pereira. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Aidan Sugrue, one of the members on the winning Northampton team, watches the board with anticipation to see if his team will jump into first place after buying and selling some of their stocks during the mock stock exchange. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Aaron Wagenheim, a Northampton High School student, responds to watching his stocks move his team up the ranks. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Chris Raphael-Reily, left, and Aidan Sugrue, members of the winning Northampton team, respond as they move into first place after buying and selling stocks at a mock stock exchange set up by Junior Achievement of Western Mass at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • From left, Chris Raphael-Reily, Aidan Sugrue, and Charlie Ryan, all members on the winning Northampton High School team, respond as they move into first place after buying and selling stocks at a mock stock exchange set up by Junior Achievement of Western Mass at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • From left, Chris Raphael-Reily, Aidan Sugrue, and Charlie Ryan, all members on the winning Northampton team, respond as they move into first place after buying and selling stocks at a mock stock exchange set up by Junior Achievement of Western Mass at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • From left, Chris Raphael-Reily, Aidan Sugrue, and Charlie Ryan, all members on the winning Northampton team, respond as they move into first place after buying and selling stocks. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/21/2018 12:13:35 AM

SPRINGFIELD — Financial news boomed over a loudspeaker in the MassMutual Center. The room, filled with high school students, had been transformed into the New York Stock Exchange. One headline caused panic: After an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, worldwide oil prices dropped.

Students leapt into action, rushing around the crowded room to make deals as the song “Billionaire” played in the background. A boy walked frantically through the crowd plugging one ear while the other was glued to a cellphone that he loudly relayed stock information into while another student shouted “oil is down!”

That was just one round of the Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts Stock Market Competition held on Nov. 8. 

For over a decade, the annual event has aimed to teach young people about finance through the hands-on simulation. In the competition, each team has $1 million to invest. There are 60 days, each lasting 60 seconds, in which teams can buy and sell stocks from fictional companies, said Jennifer Connolly, president of Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts.

For an hour, students on 134 teams rushed . around the room making trades, conferring with their teams, and listening to financial news read over the loudspeaker. To buy and sell stocks, students filled out slips of paper with the details to give to traders stationed throughout the room. At the front of the room were several large screens showing fluctuating charts and graphs that detail team statistics and stock information.

This is not a typical day, said Nic Soucy, a senior in an accounting class at Easthampton High School. His team, the Wolfs of 112, are following that class’s words of wisdom: “Our classroom motto is buy low and sell high,” he said before the competition officially began.

April Duguay, an Easthampton High School teacher, said the students, who are in accounting or business classes, spent time preparing for the event, doing stock market simulations and researching various companies.

Now, Duguay said, “They’re on their own.”

Up front, the Easthampton team invested in a few different stocks. “We don’t put all our eggs in one basket,” explained Damien Diluzio, also an Easthampton High School senior.

Meanwhile, Phin Steiniger, a Northampton High student, explained his strategy, “We decided to take as many stocks as we can.” Before the competition started, his team had invested $999,945 of their allotted $1 million. He and most of his teammates are dressed in khaki pants and collared shirts — a spiffier than usual look, he admits.

“I’m here so that I can learn about the stock market,” Aaron Wagenheim a NHS senior said before the game began.

He’s considering a career in finance and said he’s been interested in the stock market since his grandfather introduced him to it at age 12.

Last year, NHS students won the competition and Wagenheim wanted to keep that tradition alive. “We got our eyes on the prize,” he said.

Throughout the game this year, another Northampton team consistently topped the charts.

“We love the rush,” said Aidan Sugrue, a member of that team. He and team member Chris Raphael-Reily both said they could see themselves working on Wall Street one day.

“Everything is in solar,” Charlie Ryan explained of the team’s strategy.

“There’s a high market for solar,” Raphael-Reily added. “And we know oil would go down … Because there’s less oil in the world, it’s not a good bet.”

Their team was in second place with about 20 minutes left in the simulation and they had a plan. When a new light-speed travel company went live, they took a risk and invested heavily in it.

The move paid off and helped push them into first place, with a final value of $2.8 million. They traded the fictitious cash for a trophy, and made Northampton the winner of the competition for the second straight year.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com




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