Over the past year, teams of elementary, middle, and high school students from Botetourt to Wise counties bought and sold real-time stocks and bonds totaling $100,000 per team.

The effort was part of a simulation sponsored by the Virginia Council on Economic Education and the Centers for Economic Education at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. The online simulation teaches students the importance of long-term investments as well as financial management and decision-making skills. Students and teachers know the simulation as “The Stock Market Game” and participate for either fall, spring, or year-long games.

“In today’s economy, retirement funds and pensions are often not sufficient to sustain people well into retirement,” said Gary Stratton, director of the Center for Economic Education at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. “And the game is one way we teach students the importance of investments and long-term holdings.”

In addition to providing investment experience, students who play the game throughout the term gain lasting analytical, strategic decision-making, and interpersonal skills.

Games for the 2016-2017 year recently culminated in an awards program where 11 teachers and their students were recognized for their dedication to playing the game and achieving the highest valued portfolios among Southwest Virginia Stock Market Game divisions. All who attended the program received a framed certificate and a $20 Walmart gift card thanks to sponsors at the VCEE, Charles Koch Foundation, and Virginia Bankers Association.

In addition to Stock Market Game winners, Ms. Kilgore of Gate City High School was recognized for her student’s participation in the Governor’s Challenge in Economics and Personal Finance which is structured to motivate high school students to learn about personal finance through competition.

The awards program celebrated the achievements of people who participated in the Stock Market Game during the 2016-1017 academic year and allowed them to share their experiences and investing advice with other groups who played the game.

“The key to our success was Tesla,” said student’s from Bristol City in Ms. Aimee Thomas’s group. “We stuck with that company and ended up profiting from it.”

The Centers for Economic Education at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise co-hosted the evening and Cheryl Ayers, associate director of the Virginia Tech center, emceed the program. The Centers, which are affiliated with VCEE, provide professional development programs and resources in economics, personal finance, and entrepreneurship to educators in Southwest Virginia including research-based instructional methods and lesson plans to help educate Virginia’s K-12 students on economics and personal finance. 



Jillian Broadwell