Christmas came early for the Honors Economics class.
Each year, Larry Martin, a licensed attorney, a former employee of Nuveen and an HT coach, leads the class in a stock exchange game. "Everybody had to choose one stock," explains Julio Antunez '19. "Mr. Martin allocated the same initial investment dollar amount to each student, so unlike stock market 'games' this one has real-life consequences," adds teacher Barbara Heyrman. "At the end of the semester, like a mutual fund, the gains and losses of each stock are added up."
"I was very interested in it, so I did a lot of research," says Julio. "I wanted to pick something in the medical sector because I knew the class would end around Christmas and during the winter people need more medicine. That's when I came across [pharmaceutical company] AbbVie. In the beginning, I had a strong feeling for my company since it was put first place right away. But then I saw someone else's stock go up, really, really high right away, so I knew it was going to be tough."
While students followed their stocks from week to week, Mr. Martin also led discussions on ethical investing, how to compare costs of colleges and various scholarship and loan packages, and various types of investments. In addition, Mr. Martin arranged a field trip to Nuveen, where students heard from a number of speakers about working in the private sector and the financial industry.
At the end of the semester, Mr. Martin donned his Santa hat and delivered the final results. “I was very impressed with the stocks the students picked, and the work each student did following their stock during class and reporting to the class on its performance," said Mr. Martin. "Our class portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 index."
As it turned out, Julio's instincts were spot on and AbbVie finished the game with the highest gains: $445.06 out of the class's total of $3,565. "I feel great that my stock made it to first."
Coming in first also came with a bonus, just like in real life. Out of the total gains, Mr. Martin gives half to Holy Trinity and divides the remaining half up among the students, with bonuses for the top finishers.
For Julio, this class ended with more than a cash award. It has also inspired his future. "I'm thinking of going into the stock market as a career."