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Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Kauai students
get to play
—the market

The private school students are
buying and selling real stocks with
real funds provided by
a software firm

By Russ Lynch

Six students at a private school on Kauai's North Shore are making daily decisions on whether to buy, sell or hold stocks with $100,000 of real money to invest.

The cash was set aside for the students of Kula High and Intermediate by a fast-growing software company, Indigo Investment Systems Inc., based in Sarasota, Fla.

The money is in an active trading account that the six students -- one each from grades nine through 12, with two alternates -- operate using Indigo Investment Software.

The company sells the software that it says gives fast, simple and reliable buy and sell signals on stocks.

Dean Albrecht, Indigo president and chief executive, said today that Kauai was chosen for the school demonstration because his company has recently set up a sales office in the islands and because it is "so far away from Wall Street."

Scott Mijares, an instructor in markets and investing at Kula High and Intermediate, is also an Indigo representative and uses the software himself. He got involved, he said, mainly because Albrecht is a good friend.

From the school's point of view, it is an interesting project that will teach the students about investing without interfering with their work.

The Indigo software is designed for fast decision making, the company noted. School Principal Adah Askew said that means the students don't have to cut into class work to use it. "If it were going to take students away from their core classes or any classes at all, we wouldn't have approved it," she said.

"It takes place during their recess period," Askew said.

Mijares said the students get a break for 15 minutes at 10:45, just when the stock markets are about to close on the East Coast, and that's when the trades are done.

Albrecht and Mijares said that Indigo cannot let the students keep whatever trading profits they make because that would breach money management regulations.

Assuming the project is a success, however, there would likely be some sort of company donation to the school, they said. Likewise, the company would eat any trading losses in the account, which was opened today and will run through June 1.

Win or lose, the students will be getting a hands-on education in investing.

Mijares said the trading decisions will be displayed on Indigo's Web site,

Kula High and Intermediate was founded seven years ago and now has 59 students in grades seven through 12, Askew said.

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