A group of S&S Middle School students was recently rewarded with a trip to the nation’s capital following successes in a national investing game. The team of students placed third in the Capital Hill Challenge Stock Market Game this spring, beating out nearly 1,900 other teams of middle and high school students from across the U.S.

“It’s really exciting, and I am pleased with their performance and they did so well in making their portfolio,” team sponsor and S&S teacher David Pruitt. said.

The Stock Market Game challenges students to build a simulated stock portfolio using $100,000. At the end of the contest, the teams would have their portfolio compared to the S&P 500 Index to determine the winner.

The team was invited to compete in the national contest representing U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe’s district following a win in the regional Stock Market Game in 2018. The school retained its title as no. 1 team in the Dallas-Fort Worth area when it won the regional contest and took second place this spring.

Pruitt said he encouraged his students to invest in what they know and in brands they encounter on a daily basis. This advice led them to invest in Yum! Brands, Disney, PayPal and Dell Computers.

“All I did was give them some basic steps on how to look for good stocks,” he said.

Reighlee Johnson said she decided to join the team after being approached by Pruitt, but had no previous investing experience. However, said said she followed his advice and focused on companies she knew.

“Most of the time you do shopping online the money goes through PayPal,” she said.

The team spent three days in the capital and got the opportunity to tour the city and meet their elected officials, including Ratcliffe and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz among others.

“I’m glad to see that students are learning the power of personal savings and investments at such a young age, so they’ll be equipped to make smart financial decisions that will allow them to save up for their educations, families and retirement, as they pursue the American dream,” Ratcliffe said in a press release.

Johnson said meeting the U.S Rep. was her favorite part of the trip because he took time out to speak to them beyond what was scheduled.

“He was supposed to meet us at the main level, but spent 15 more minutes with us,” she said. “He was nice and personable.”

Michael Hutchins is a reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at MHutchins@HeraldDemocrat.com.