As of Tuesday, one S&S Middle School team topped the list of nearly 1,900 schools from across the country competing in the Capital Hill Challenge Stock Market Game, while another three of the school’s teams are in the top 50. A different team also recently won the 2019 Stock Market Game for the Dallas-Fort Worth region, giving the school its second win in two years.
The participating students also received a visit from a member of U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe’s office Tuesday. James Baker III, director of public policy for Ratcliffe’s office, spoke to students about the responsibilities of being an elected official along with the purpose of the House of Representatives and state legislatures. The school was chosen to represent Ratcliffe’s district in the national contest, which saw nearly 1,900 student teams try to make a profit through investment and a balanced stock portfolio.
“You all can’t vote yet but you are our constituents as well,” Baker said. “To be very frank, you are our future. What we do in Washington and across the state will impact you one day. It may impact you today.”
Representatives with S&S said the school was invited to participate in the national contest, which tasks high school and middle school students with creating a simulated stock portfolio using $100,000, after a team from the school placed first in a regional stock market contest last year.
David Pruitt, an S&S math teacher who has organized teams for the Stock Market Game since 1995, said S&S was originally invited to participate in the Capital Hill Challenge last year, but did not have time to participate. Under the rules of the event, each congressional district is allowed to have two schools with 10 teams participate.
“The 10 teams with the nationally top-ranked portfolios win a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet their Member of Congress and be recognized at an awards reception on Capitol Hill,” the Stock Market Game said on its website. “During their visit, students and teachers will meet with business, government, and education leaders to learn about fiscal policy making, the role of the capital markets, and global economic trends.”
Unlike the traditional game, Pruitt said students will go beyond simply buying stocks and must also buy a bond, mutual fund and have a fully diversified stock portfolio. These portfolios will then be compared against the S&P 500 Index. As of Tuesday, the S&S team’s portfolio was performing 6 percent above the index.
“All the work you do before you even start the game plays a role in how you end the game,” Pruitt said. “All your battles are won before you start. You have to do your homework first and it is based on how well you do your homework and research beforehand.”
For this year’s game, Pruitt said some students turned their eyes to Disney as a potential money maker. With its recent purchase of media company Fox, and the release of “Avengers: Endgame,” as well as the future launch of the Disney+ streaming service, Pruitt said Disney was a solid pick for the student investors.
Other picks for the teams included Tractor Supply Company, computer maker Dell and the internet service Paypal, among others. Pruitt said he encouraged his students to look inside and consider their own trends and interests when choosing stocks to invest in.
Last year’s winning Stock Market Game team also invested in PayPal, along with Yum Brands, Dr. Pepper Snapple and communications company Twilio. While this strategy worked previously, Pruitt said he encouraged his teams not to follow the blueprints from other teams, citing the fickle nature of the market.
“The winning stocks for last year may not all be winners the next year around,” he said.
Despite finding comfort in being in first place, Pruitt said the contest still has nearly two weeks remaining and the frantic speed of the market can change things within a day.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @mhutchinsHD on Twitter.