A team of S&S Consolidated Independent School District middle school students were recognized for their successes in a recent stock market simulation Monday. The team of students recently placed first among all middle school students participating in this spring’s Stock Market Game.

The 10-week simulation, sponsored by the Texas Council for Economic Education and Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, tasked more than 7,500 students across the state with investing $100,000 in simulated funds. Once the final totals were counted, the S&S team had about $112,000.

The team, made up of sixth graders Kinadie Hulsey, Brenna Howard, Brynn Blevens, Harlee Wooten and Willow Smith, were presented with a certificate for their accomplishment and a $75 check, each.

“Twelve percent would be good for a year, but this was in only 10 weeks,” Steven Cobb, director of the Center for Economic Education at the University of North Texas, said. “If we continued that year long, we are looking at a 50 percent return.”

Officially, Cobb said the students were recognized as the first place winner for the Dallas-Fort Worth/North Texas division for middle school students. However, the score that the team received was the highest of all middle school teams, he said.

“This was something we thought was just a game at first, but we ended up winning it,” Hulsey said.

The team said the majority of their success was simply due to luck as they started the game by investing in five companies and held onto them throughout the entire simulation without doing additional trading. The stocks included commonly-known brands including Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and Yum Brands, parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC. Others included technology companies include PayPal and Twilio, a communications company that turned into the team’s big winner.

“We mostly looked at what was popular and things other people wouldn’t think to choose,” Hulsey said, noting the idea for Twilio came from an edition of Fortune magazine. “Our direct strategy was just to choose things that sounded cool.”

The team was guided by S&S math teacher David Pruitt, who has played in the Stock Market Game since 1995. Pruitt’s teams have won first place prizes for two of the last three years. For spring 2018, Pruitt said he has had about 17 teams competing.

“That was back in the day before the internet and we had to mail in our buy and sell orders,” he said. “Everything is much faster now, and I think that helps the game.”

Pruitt said there is some luck involved with the game, but added that the team did show a strategy that they may not recognize. By following and watching trends, Pruitt said the students were able to follow and use tactics, including staying with a stock longer term, that are used by professional investors.

“Really, any success in the stock market comes from sticking to what you know,” he said.