Student stock pickers start new round
About 2,500 students, grades 3 through 12, are in the program
The Hawaii Stock Market Simulation program, which has exploded in popularity during its six years of existence, this fall has attracted about 2,500 students anxious to test their investment skills.
The interactive competition, which helps students learn how the U.S. market system works, kicked off on the state's four major islands on Monday with 78 teachers representing 52 schools. The program, also held in the spring, allows teams of two to four students to invest a hypothetical $100,000 in stocks, bonds and mutual funds over a 10-week period.
Started in Hawaii in 2000 with 183 students, the Stock Market Simulation program has its highest participation in the spring when the teachers have more time to get prepared.
"The students have gotten more sophisticated (over the years) and that's because the teachers now have come to multiple investing workshops and have been very successful in transferring that investment knowledge to their students," said Kristine Castagnaro, executive director of the Hawaii Council on Economic Education, which administers the program.
Students in grades 3 through 12 can participate in four categories. The aggressive division requires that portfolios contain 80 percent stocks and 20 percent bonds. The growth division must contain 65 percent stocks and 35 percent bonds. The income/growth division requires 50 percent stocks and 50 percent bonds. And the elementary division does not have to contain bonds.
The state Office of the Commissioner of Securities is providing $25,000 in funding for each session. The first- and second-place team members at the end of the 10-week period receive $100 and $50 savings bonds. The program's rankings at www.hawaiisms.com/ ranking1.php are updated daily.
HCEE Program Director Cheryl Geslani, a newcomer to Hawaii, said she's impressed with the way the state has set up the program.
"It's different from other states because we require students to allocate their portfolios into both stocks and bonds and it promotes healthy investing behavior," Geslani said. "We're also trying to stress ... that ... before you do invest, you have to have a certain amount of savings, and a goal for that savings."