Virtual millionaire 101


Photo by Caylea Erickson

Alice Yu

The student’s guide on how to make $100,000 grow into $1 million
Of all the traits the stereotypical high schooler is associated with, responsibility doesn’t rank very high. Of course, as an educational institution, high school is meant to instill employable and desirable attributes into the future workforce of the world. One of the required courses, Personal Finance, speaks clearly to that goal. Buried  into the curriculum of Personal Finance is the Stock Market Game, which truly catapults students into the “real world”.
“The whole point of the stock market game is to introduce the stock market to the majority of students. Most students aren’t familiar with how stocks are introduced, or put on the market and how can you access and purchase stocks,” personal finance teacher Susan Lidholm said. “It’s a whole new vocabulary for most people so I think that gives them a baseline. It’s going to be up to them to expand upon it.”
In the Stock Market Game, students are split up into teams and each team is granted $100,000 in simulation currency. Students can then use other sources, such as, and to research and determine the potential success of stocks.
Before beginning the simulation, students are taught to understand the meaning behind a 52 week high (the highest price of a stock within the last 52 weeks), a 52 week low (the lowest price of a stock within the last 52 weeks), P/E ratios (the price-per earning ratio which can be calculated by dividing the stock’s current price by its earnings in the last 12 months) among other stock market vocabulary. Even with all this knowledge in hand, some are wondering, does the Stock Market Game truly and effectively introduce students into the world of stocks?
Although the game models a real Stock Market, junior Alex Tschopp believes the effectiveness of the game is overshadowed by the short time span. In early October students receive their Stock Market game accounts and challenged to make as much profit as they can by the end of the semester in December.
“It’s so short term,” Tschopp said. “In our real lives, we’ll have to think much longer terms to make decisions for that.”
The two-month time constraint aside, Tschopp does view the Stock Market Game as an engaging activity and a learning experience.
“It’s fun to have a chance to compete against our classmates,” Tschopp said. “It’s not very stressful since our grade is just dependent on how we make our decisions.”
As an hands-on activity that puts more emphasis on learning than on success, the Stock Market Game does give students a chance to learn about and experience the complex process of buying, selling and researching a stock.
“The stock market has taught me a lot, especially about how to purchase stocks, because originally I had no idea what I was doing, but now, I do know how to purchase a stock,” junior Mirnes Mustafic said. “I know how to see how much it’s worth and how much it’s increasing by, its overall profit. The stock market game has also taught me what kind of stocks to buy, which ones are really effective and the overall risk to profit ratio.”
After entering into the world of stock markets, students can often guess the success of stocks. By knowing what’s popular and anticipated amongst their peers, they’re able to enter trades that often work to their favor.
“Students really know generally what’s going to succeed in the stock market if they just look at brands that are popular with teens,” Lidholm said. “The one year that we won with Under Armour, they were coming with their new tennis shoes and I didn’t know that they were coming out with their new tennis shoes. Students knew that, invested in that and it soared. It went wonderful and then the next year it rubbed off and didn’t do so well.”
The Stock Market Game also serves as a competition as well as a learning experience with teams competing at the regional, state and national level. Almost every semester, RBHS students place in the top places for the region or state in the Stock Market Game. They’re recognized at an awards banquet that usually includes dinner and given a trophy. Even with such an impressive record, the focus of the Stock Market Game still lies in preparing students for their economic success.
“We also want to introduce [the investing] unit from the standpoint that when you’re investing, you’re investing for the purpose to build wealth,” Lidholm said. “The more knowledge base that you have regarding the stock market, the better you’re going to be able to understand the complex issues of how they’re going to affect you in the long run.”
By Alice Yu
Photo by Caylea Erickson