The 10th Annual Stock Market Challenge was hosted by Junior Achievement of Central Iowa on Tuesday, March 7 at the Junior Achievement headquarters in Des Moines.


The event is part of the Junior Achievement high school program, “Take Stock in Your Future,” which “helps support Junior Achievement’s overall mission of empowering students by teaching them skills to overcome growing financial concerns like the student loan crisis and a lack of social mobility,” according to a Junior Achievement news release.


Students from A-D-M High School and Waukee High School, along with other schools from around the Des Moines Metro Area, participated in this year’s event.


The A-D-M students were sponsored by Iowa Bankers Association, Lincoln Savings Bank, and Reynolds and Reynolds Inc.


The Stock Market Challenge simulates a 60-day cycle of the stock market and allows the groups of students to have $500,000 worth of fake trading dollars to invest. They receive a list and description of 26 fictitious stocks to invest in their portfolios and are able to track their performances in the form of news releases, hot tips and portfolio statements as the days go by, with 60 seconds representing one trading day.


“As with all Junior Achievement programs, the Stock Market Challenge connects lessons learned in the classroom with the real world,” said Ryan Osborn, president of Junior Achievement of Central Iowa, in a news release. “Competing as stock traders, high school students have the opportunity to put business principles into practice in a very real-time simulation.”


There were 30 teams of four or five high schools students that competed.


“Students have the chance to sharpen their decision-making, communication and collaboration skills — all of which will help their transition from the classroom to the boardroom,” Osborn said in a news release. “We greatly appreciate the local banks that sponsored our high school teams.”


Junior Achievement of Central Iowa is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving student circumstances by helping them believe in themselves and providing financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work-readiness programs.


Del Buchman, economics teacher at A-D-M High School, said that his students have been attending the event for about seven years now. He said that the challenge is important because it allows the students to see how the stock-trading process works.


“The stimulation of the action and live thinking on a time basis shows them how some business operations work,” Buchman said in an email. “This also allows them to see other schools and gauge their expertise against their cohorts.”


Buchman said that some of his students come away from the experience with new self confidence to pursue careers in business and even get involved in stock trading on their own.


“Some get stimulated to invest their own money, and others find simulations online,” Buchman said. “The 20 or so who get to go also become mentors and tutors for when their classmates encounter the topics addressed at The Junior Achievement Stock Exchange.”


Three of the five A-D-M teams finished in the top 10 and even held second place a couple of times.