Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today announced the winning students and teachers of the Fall 2019 InvestWrite writing competition and the Spring 2020 Stock Market Game.

One student placed in the top 10 of the national InvestWrite competition; nine students placed in the top three of their division for the state InvestWrite competition; and 22 students were members of teams that placed in the top three of their division for the state Stock Market Game competition. A list of winners is available on the Office of State Treasurer website: treasurer.utah.gov/recent-winners/.

The Stock Market Game is a ten-week simulation of Wall Street trading that provides a framework for teaching Utah students about the U.S. economy and financial markets. The game is designed for classroom use to help students understand investing, the costs and benefits involved in economic decision making, the sources and uses of capital and other related economic concepts in an integrated manner with other curriculum. It is intended to be a catalyst for further study of and interest in free enterprise capitalism.

George Washington Academy student Connor Hoff’s team took first place in the middle and junior high school division. In his recorded speech, Hoff said, “This experience has given me a taste of what it will be like in business and making smart financial decisions. I really enjoyed working with my team and investing in The Stock Market Game.” Hoff’s teammate, Ethan Burbank, added, “We learned when to buy stocks, how to buy stocks and the best stocks to buy. I definitely plan on investing in the stock market in the future.”

Skyline High School teacher Syd Lott’s team took first place in the high school division. He said the economic turbulence that began a few weeks after the game started was a learning experience for his students. “Some of the students were using a hedging strategy, so when things went down, they were making money. When it bottomed out, they made even more money as they started to buy stocks on sale,” Lott said. “Students are not scared of investing; they understand the power of putting your money to work for you. The most important thing the kids have learned this year is that the best protection is knowledge.”

InvestWrite is a national writing competition that builds off of concepts learned through The Stock Market Game, such as portfolio construction, capital markets, stocks, bonds and mutual funds. The Fall 2019 InvestWrite essay prompt for the high school division asked students to pitch their dream to a theoretical panel of investors for seed money to invest in their idea. Lott’s student, Christina Dong, placed first in the state and ninth nationally in the high school division. Dong wrote her essay about her aspirations to become a cardiovascular surgeon and detailed her plans to start a nonprofit that would teach foundational first-aid skills to low-income and homeless individuals and assist them with medical payments and scheduling essential check-ups.

Historically, Treasurer Damschen hosts an awards banquet luncheon to honor the winners of The Stock Market Game. Treasurer Damschen also normally recognizes winners of the InvestWrite competition during surprise assemblies or class parties at the students’ schools. To help slow the community spread of COVID-19, the traditional celebrations for students and teachers were cancelled.

In lieu of these events, the Office of State Treasurer is honoring the winners of the Fall 2019 InvestWrite writing competition and the Spring 2020 Stock Market Game with awards mailed to their home addresses and by sharing photos of the winning students and teachers on the office’s social media. The student winners of The Stock Market Game had the opportunity to record a short video describing what they learned from playing The Stock Market Game and their plans to invest in the future. These videos have been posted on social media and to the office’s website.

“The Stock Market Game and InvestWrite competitions pique student interest in important concepts taught in the classroom by adding an element of competition,” Treasurer Damschen said. “I appreciate the incredible efforts of teachers and students to improve financial knowledge.”

For more information about The Stock Market Game and InvestWrite writing competition, visit: treasurer.utah.gov/stock-market-game/.