Pupils play the stock markets and win


May 31, 2002|By Lesa Jansen | Lesa Jansen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

NAVIGATING between the bears and the bulls on Wall Street, five Mount Airy Middle School pupils have come out on top in a statewide competition designed to teach children about economics.

Calling it "The Stock Market Game," the Council on Economic Education in Maryland gave each team an imaginary $100,000 to invest in companies on the New York, American and NASDAQ stock exchanges during a 10-week period.

Mount Airy Middle School's "Geometry Guys" took the challenge seriously.

"We would meet every day during our free period to talk about what we needed to buy or sell," said eighth-grader Derek Frantz. "There usually was a consensus after we had all done research on the companies by reading the financial pages or going on the Internet."

Derek and fellow eighth-graders Andrew Oldewurtel-Illioff, Ricky O'Steen, Alex Schmid and Travis Weyforth took high school geometry at South Carroll the first half of the school year.

Mount Airy Middle School Principal Virginia Ashmore got the boys involved in the competition.

"After geometry had ended, these kids had a block of time open while other students were taking algebra," she said. "Rather than having idle time, I thought they could become involved in this and use their math skills while also being intellectually stimulated."

The team watched their portfolio go up and down with the whims of the market.

They followed their instincts and bought companies that made things that people enjoy, such as video games or computers. They bought stock in McDonald's, but that didn't fare well.

"What we realized," Travis said, "was how much you have to watch your money and not just let it ride.

"There's a lot of luck involved," he said. "And we might have made a lot less if it was real money because we would have taken a lot less chances."

In the end, they came away with a portfolio worth between $110,000 and $112,000. They also won the regional competition of the stock market game among middle schools.

"I tried to tell my parents about the stocks we were buying that they might want to buy," Derek said, "but I don't know if they took the advice."

Lions carnival

The carnival season opens Monday in Mount Airy with the 56th annual Lions Carnival.

Carnival chairman Joe Roemer said the event would be bigger than ever, with more gaming booths and more rides.

"It's a proven formula with only a few changes behind the scenes to fine-tune things," he said.

The carnival will open daily at 6:30 p.m. beginning Monday and continuing through June 8 at the fireman's carnival grounds on Route 27.

The rides will open daily at 7 p.m. with ride-all-night-for-one-price specials Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Live entertainment includes: Monday, Flat Broke; Tuesday, Four-of-a-Kind; Wednesday, Key Largo; Thursday, Roll the Dice; June 7, Stone Broke; June 8, Cabellaro.

The carnival is the year's biggest fund-raiser for the Lions Club.

"All the money we make goes back into the community in one way or another," said Roemer. "We contribute to the senior center, Scout groups, athletic organizations and, of course, our medical equipment that we buy to lend out to people in the community who need a hospital bed or wheelchair."

Information: 301-829-LION.

Youth center concert

Tickets are available for a benefit concert to establish the Amanda Center in Mount Airy.

The concert by the local band Infuseon will be at 7 p.m. today at South Carroll High School. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $5.

Proceeds benefit the Amanda Center, a youth center being established in memory of former South Carroll pupil Amanda Ingersoll, who died of complications from a car accident last year.

Information: 410-751-3575.

Lesa Jansen's Southwest neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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