Students defy stock trends

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Register/Bob Johnson
Robert Carlin, their instructor, is with members of a seventh-grade Iola Middle School stock-trading team that was first among 47 middle school teams statewide and second in competition with middle school, high school and community college teams. From left, they are John Whitworth, Paul Douglas, MacKenzie Wese-loh, Michael Armstrong and Trent Latta.

Students at Iola Middle School defied reports that first quarter consumer confidence was low. They made money investing in retail stocks.
A seventh-grade IMS stock trading team finished first among 47 teams from Kansas middle schools and second among 215 teams including, high school and community colleges.
The team, composed of John Whitworth, Paul Douglas, MacKenzie Weseloh, Michael Armstrong and Trent Latta, bought heavily into clothing and sports equipment stocks. When the statewide exercise ended, the team’s $100,000 seed money was worth $171,793.69.
The second place team in the middle school competition, also from IMS, had a net worth of $162,812.18. Its members were Quinton Morrison, Adam Kauth, Bryan Mueller and Coby Cochran.
“One of the hardest things in middle school is to find something students can have fun with and also learn,” said Roger Carlin, their social science instructor. That goal led him to form the teams and enroll them in a statewide competition through the Kansas Council on Economic Education. Students were given latitude to invest in whatever stocks piqued their interest.
“They had (computer) tools to work with,” Carlin said, which permitted them to track stock performance.
“About the only recommendation I gave was that they pay attention when a stock’s price leveled off. I told them that was a sign that it probably had reached its limit.”
The students also took note of external forces that affect stocks.
“We looked at President Obama’s policies and how the federal government was interacting with banks and the auto makers,” Carlin said.
“It was interesting how engaged the students became. If we had a few extra minutes at the end of a period, they all wanted to check their portfolios to see how they were doing.”
Carlin, a banker for 16 years in Colorado and Oklahoma before going becoming a teacher 14 years ago, said he stressed that buying and selling stocks wasn’t a game. He told the students to be aware of opportunities to earn money other than through their occupation.
“It’s hard today to get by just on a salary,” Carlin said.
“I was delighted with how well our teams did,” Principal Jack Stanley said. “In addition to getting first and second place in the middle school division, other IMS teams finished fourth, fifth and 10th. Overall, IMS teams were second, third, 10th and 12th.”
On Tuesday, 23 students on the high-placing teams will be driven to Pizza Hut in a limousine and treated to lunch.
Other students in the top teams are Michael Wilson, Jesse Zimmerman, Tyler McIntosh, Bryce Misenhelter, Sydney Haen, Rebecca Cunningham, Carrie Mock, Megan Smith, Mickey Ingle, Sabrina Graham, Courtney Sczuka, Alexis Hobbs, McKayla Robb and Kaitlyn Lieurance.