From left to right: Joe Rogal, Christian Reed, Charlie Fuder and Kaden Haarstad. This team took home first place in a recent statewide stock market simulation game where each group was allotted $100,000 of fake funds to actively trade in a real stock market environment; this team ended the competition with $452,912.
Ethan Soland is an economics teacher at the Fergus Falls High School and students in his class recently took home top awards for a recent statewide stock market simulation competition.
“All students in the class were given $100,000 in fake currency to invest in anything they wanted,” Soland explains. “They get to go through this simulation and see how it goes over three months time.”
Soland says that the groups he coordinated in Fergus Falls competed with over 1,100 groups throughout the state, with teams averaging three to five members for their class. The competition kicked off in September and wrapped up in early December.
“We ended up doing outstanding in here in Fergus,” Soland notes. “We took first, second, fourth and fifth places in the entire state – it was awesome and they invested a lot of their own personal time throughout the competition.”
Soland describes students continuously trading, sometimes making hundreds of trades per day while keeping a pulse on financial markets, earnings reports and other factors that played into the success they experienced.
“We had a group get first last year as well – it’s passed from one grade to the next and so it’s ballooned and we did outstanding this year as a result,” Soland continues. “My favorite part is it’s a real world experience – they’re able to take this and translate it into real life success.”
This year’s first place group came in at $452,912, second place resulted in $380,016, fourth saw gains totaling $201, 498 and fifth place ended the competition with $182,089.
“I have a couple kids looking into internships as a result of this experience, one staying local and one looking at an opportunity in the cities,” Soland says.
"I think the most challenging part of the game was being patient with the markets," Charlie Fuder explains, one of the many committed and keen students who participated in the competition. "Many times they were frustrating, but I stuck in there for the long run and it paid off."
Fuder explains that some of the most valuable practices he learned was short selling: "Betting that a certain stock would go down was key to making money, especially in the bear market we have right now."
Fuder's future plans are to attend a four-year college for finance, noting that the stock market game was very influential in his decision to go for that sector: "I now realize that my strengths lie in the market."
"I would recommended every student plays this game if they get the chance,"Fuder says. "I knew nothing about the markets before I started this and I have learned a ton. It was very helpful in my college major decision as well."
Fuder explains that other helpful tools he discovered through the game were current news, federal reserve reports and staying up-to-date with other major events in the business world. Fuder mentioned that by watching the news, he could predict what would happen with a company’s stock the next day.
"The main strategy I used was day trading, which is buying large amounts of stocks and selling them, usually within the hour, to turn a quick profit around," Fuder continues. "I had a lot of fun in the game."
Soland says that while some may misunderstand the competition as teaching students how to get rich quick, the training and instruction is meant to improve and encourage lifelong financial literacy: “It’s focused on the long haul, and we’re still teaching the principles of risk and the wise use of money.”
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