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A Rapid City Stevens High School student recently took top honors in the South Dakota High School Division and placed fifth in the national Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Foundation’s InvestWrite® student essay competition.  Clarissa Petres, a junior at Stevens, won with her essay titled “The effect of World War II on machinery-good companies. “

“This was the first time a South Dakota student placed in the national InvestWrite competition and is quite an accomplishment considering the number of essays submitted nationwide,” said Don Altmyer, professor in the Black Hills State University College of Business and Natural Sciences and coordinator of the state Stock Market Game (SMG).

As a culminating activity for the country’s 600,000 SMG™ participants, InvestWrite® challenges 4th-12th graders to analyze an investment scenario and write an essay offering investment advice. Petres’s essay, written in her high school economics class, profiled two companies that saw stock price increases during the war: Chrysler and Remington Rand.  Chrysler won the US Army’s contract to build light and fast tanks to compete with German tanks in Europe and designed the M-1 Sherman tank.  Remington Rand produced the M- 45 pistol and during the war, the company sold over 900,000 pistols to the government.  The winning essay composed by Petres was chosen from 1,600 high school essays submitted. 

Emily Eining, an eighth grader from St. Mary’s Middle School in Dell Rapids, claimed top prize for the middle school division in the fall 2012 competition. Eining wrote her essay in teacher Amanda Geraet’s Math class.

Students consider real-world economic events and trends, conduct research online, develop investment recommendations and, in the process, gain the skills to prepare for their own financial future. Clarissa and Emily were one of 20,000 students each year across the nation that submit essays in the InvestWrite challenge.

 The essays were put through rigorous judging by thousands of teachers and industry professionals who evaluate students’ analysis of asset allocation, the investment potential of various publicly traded stocks, the students’ overall understanding of the stock market, and the manner in which they express their investment ideas in essay form.

“InvestWrite and the Stock Market Game program require students like Clarissa and Emily to monitor daily global market activity and economic factors that drive investments to determine the short and long-term growth potential of industries, companies, asset classes and specific stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.” said Melanie Mortimer, Executive Director of the SIFMA Foundation. “They are then asked to make sophisticated, thoughtful recommendations that reflect what is expected of college and career-ready students.”

The SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite competition bridges classroom learning in mathematics, social studies, language arts, business and economics, with the practical research and knowledge required for long-term personal financial planning. Students are, in fact, building on what they have learned through their participation in the SMG, which has reached more than 14 million students since its inception in 1977. Participants master the fundamentals of personal finance, investing and economics as early as fourth grade and become active and engaged learners, seeking out new information, applications, and connections in their daily lives.

The South Dakota Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are presented by the BHSU Center for Economic Education, the SIFMA Foundation for Investor Education and the South Dakota Council on Economic Education.   Since 1997, more than 15,000 South Dakota students have participated in the South Dakota Stock Market Game.  An independent study by Learning Point Associates found that students who participated in the SMG scored significantly higher on mathematics and financial literacy tests than their peers who did not participate. They also found that teachers who taught the SMG reported the program motivated them to better plan for their future and to engage in financial planning, research, and use of investment products and services. The SMG has been named the only program that successfully increased scores on the Jumpstart Coalition’s test of high school students’ financial literacy.

For more information on the South Dakota Stock Market Game, contact Don Altmyer, BHSU Center for Economic Education and the South Dakota Stock Market Game Coordinator at Don.Altmyer@BHSU.edu.