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Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge Goes Virtual, Winners Announced

Jadiel Johnson of Jamestown High School is pictured with his Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge award.

This year’s disruption in the high school learning environment did not prevent the annual Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge from happening, with Jaidel Johnson from Jamestown High School taking first place.

The volunteers and staff at Junior Achievement of Western New York quickly developed a virtual format for this year’s program. During the week of Nov. 16-20, more than 590 students from 25 Western New York high schools experienced the realities of the stock market trading through a virtual simulation and competed for the top 10 spots to earn prizes. Prior to the Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge, Junior Achievement provides an educational program called Junior Achievement Take Stock in Your Future.

JHS Business teacher, David Munella, has entered his students in the JA Stock Market Games for a number of years. As part of Munella’s Introduction to Business class, a JCC College Connections class, he teaches a section on the stock market. Students use the information they learn in preparation for this event. Under normal circumstances, it is held at the Buffalo Convention Center once a year with 500 students and over 30 schools participating from all over Western New York. When this event is live, JHS participates in teams and students engage in an activity set up like the New York Stock Exchange. They engage in trading, which is 60 rounds, one minute per round. JHS teams have been steadily making gains since they began.

“This is a great learning experience for students as they grasp the importance of how the market drives our economy while understanding the importance of investing early in life,” Munella saisd. “We are so proud of Jadiel and his accomplishment, which is even greater as he tested out of the English as a New Language program in 10th grade.”

Northwest Bank is the presenting sponsor of the Junior Achievement program. Students from all over Western New York competed with a starting portfolio of $25,000. The competition was closely tracked, and the leaderboard was shared each day. Students were using an online program called HowTheMarketWorks.com and made their trades using real stock values. Following current events and their impacts on the market were more important than ever this year.

Jaidel Johnson from Jamestown High School was as the first-place winner of the 2020 Junior Achievement Virtual Stock Market Challenge with a 15.9% return on investment ROI and a net value of $28,998.06.

“Participating in the JA Stock Market Game helped me gain knowledge about the market and the importance of investing young,” Jadiel said. “I want to go to college and either major in Business or Criminal Justice.”

Other area participants included Dawson Bird of Fredonia High School, who placed ninth with a 4.58% return on investment.

The top four students received an iPad Air donated by HSBC Bank. Student teams placing fifth, sixth and seventh received wireless headphones donated by BlueCross BlueShield of WNY and a Perry’s Ice Cream fun pack of coupons donated by Perry’s Ice Cream. Teams placing eighth, ninth and 10th received a $50 gift card donated by Tops Markets.

Chautauqua County schools participating were Falconer High School, Fredonia High School and Jamestown High School.

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