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Cranston 5th Grader Places First in SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite State Elementary School Competition

Cranston 5th Grader Places First in SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite State Elementary School Competition

SIFMA Foundation and McGraw Hill Financial Announce Rhode Island State and National Winner of InvestWrite®

Student Beats the Market And the Competition!

  •  Indiamei Coren of Edward S. Rhodes Elementary School, Cranston, Rhode Island wins state and national distinction in the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite® essay competition with McGraw Hill Financial.
  •  InvestWrite, made possible in 2013 by McGraw Hill Financial, challenges 4th - 12th graders to analyze investments and recommend portfolio allocations targeting financial goals.
  •  Indiamei Coren is among 20,000 students nationwide who take the InvestWrite challenge each year, developing the personal financial savvy needed to make real-world financial decisions.
  •  Coren and teacher James Gemma will be recognized at the SIFMA Foundation Stock Market Game Awards Ceremony to be held at Salve Regina University on Thursday, May 30, 2013, from 11 – 1 PM, attended by students, faculty, and representatives of the SIFMA Foundation and RBC Wealth Management.

 

Cranston, Rhode Island, May 30, 2013 – It takes years to build up the financial savvy to navigate the markets. But Indiamei Coren is decades ahead of the game. She just won distinction as the Rhode Island first place winner and the seventh place national winner in the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite® essay competition with McGraw Hill Financial. Coren, a 5th grader at Edward S. Rhodes Elementary School, Cranston, Rhode Island claims this recognition in the elementary school division in the Spring 2013 competition.

The SIFMA Foundation's InvestWrite competition, launched in 2004 and made possible in 2013 by McGraw Hill Financial, challenges 4th - 12th grade students to analyze an investment scenario and recommend portfolio allocations targeting short- and long-term financial goals. The competition serves as a culminating activity for the 600,000 students nationwide who compete in The Stock Market Game™ program each year.

InvestWrite invites students to develop the personal financial savvy needed to make real-world financial decisions with confidence and a deeper understanding of opportunities, consequences, and benefits. 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. They work in groups during the Stock Market Game program but then write essays individually about their experience. Coren is one of 20,000 students across the nation who take the InvestWrite challenge each year.

In her essay, Coren was asked to think about the purchase or sale that her Stock Market Game team debated the most and then write about what might have happened to their portfolio if they had taken the opposite action. Putting serious thought into their purchases, Coren’s team decided to buy Chipotle Mexican Grill because it is a popular health food restaurant and fits with the trend of current eating habits in the US. “Instead of professionally thinking it through, we immediately bought 100 shares, having small expectations,” writes Coren regarding the team’s hopes of an already expensive stock going higher. After research, they learned that it was actually at an all-time low due to the CEO’s concern over competition, but naturally this worked in their favor and Chipotle turned out to be their leading portfolio performer. Coren explains, “There was one stock that we weren’t really expecting to help us as well as the others, but in the end gained us thousands.”

The Spring 2013 winning InvestWrite essay composed by Coren was chosen through rigorous judging by thousands of teachers and industry professionals who evaluate students’ understanding of asset allocation, the stock market, and factors that drive investments as well as their expression of investment ideas in essay form. Coren will receive a $100 AMEX gift check, a trophy, and a certificate.

"A greater emphasis on financial essentials is absolutely crucial to empowering people and communities and creating stronger economies and financial markets. Congratulations to all of the students, teachers and judges who learned and taught these valuable lessons,” said Harold McGraw III, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of McGraw Hill Financial. 

With a goal of having an impact in the community by teaching financial essentials, McGraw Hill Financial made a three-year commitment to underwriting the program.  “Acting as a good corporate citizen is at the core of everything we do, from the dedicated volunteerism of our employees to the spirit that drives our commitment to building better lives and stronger communities,” McGraw said.  

“SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are transformative programs that prepare students like Indiamei for college, career and life,” said Melanie Mortimer, Executive Director of the SIFMA Foundation. “Our students do measurably better on math, economics and personal finance tests. They also learn to work in teams, manage change, monitor and analyze the impact of global business and economic activity, and become smart consumers. We are proud to partner with McGraw Hill Financial and applaud their longstanding commitment to providing young people a better future.”

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 Stock Market Game, which has reached more than 14 million students since its inception in 1977.

An independent study by Learning Point Associates found that students who participated in the Stock Market Game scored significantly higher on mathematics and financial literacy tests than their peers who did not participate. They also found that teachers who taught the Stock Market Game reported that the program motivated them to better plan for their own financial futures. The Stock Market Game has been named the only program that successfully increased scores on the Jumpstart Coalition’s test of high school students’ financial literacy.

Coren’s teacher, James Gemma, says Coren, who is an extremely intelligent, hard-working, and conscientious student, has a kindness and compassion for others that is second to none. She is also an avid reader and loves to garden. Gemma, who has been teaching for 12 years, teaches outside the box and strives to find innovative ways to incorporate lesson plans into real world situations. "I believe students can achieve so much more if you just raise the bar and expect more from them."

Gemma and Coren will be recognized at the SIFMA Foundation Stock Market Game Awards Ceremony at Salve Regina University on Thursday, May 30, 2013, from 11 – 1 PM, which will be attended by students and faculty, along with representatives of the SIFMA Foundation and RBC Wealth Management.

Text of Indiamei Coren’s Winning Essay:

Playing the Stock Market Game has taught me most of my knowledge of the stock market. It has also caused some agreements as well as disagreements among my group members and me, mostly about which stocks to buy. There was one stock that we weren’t really expecting to help us as well as the others, but in the end gained us thousands. That stock was Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG).

My group and I were starting our first week in fall, and we were stuck. One of my groupmates suggested we buy a restaurant. A healthy one, considering that if you ever watch television, or read a magazine, everyone is using all types of methods to lose weight. We all thought this was a good idea, so we considered it for a few minutes. “Chipotle!” someone had finally said. The girl that had the typing job that day typed in Chipotle and clicked it as soon as it came up. To our surprise, CMG was $245.43. Instead of professionally thinking it through, we immediately bought 100 shares, having small expectations.

According to Google Finance, CMG owned 1,230 restaurants as of December 31, 2011. CMG owns restaurants at various places in other countries such as Toronto, Canada, and London, England. Their menu consists of burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, and salads. These were the main reasons we all agreed to buy CMG. We also had foolishly thought that since it was at a high price that it would continue to grow. Hearing friends and adults talking about it made us agree that it must be fairly popular. Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure if it was going to help us, hurt us, or do nothing at all.

The first few stocks we bought were in October, one of which was CMG. We bought it close to the lowest it had been since December of 2011. This way, Chipotle did nothing but go up, recovering from whatever had hurt them as a stock, and possibly as a restaurant. As I have found on Google Finance, CMG has had a 52-week high of $442.40, and then dropped to $233.82, which is the lowest it has been in one year. Now, what was the cause of this drop? As I have found in an article from October 2, 2012 in The New York Times, the share price had dropped significantly after the president of Greenlight Capitol, David Einhorn, called CMG overvalued. Mr. Einhorn also argued that Chipotle’s business was quite vulnerable to competition. These statements caused the stock to drop around 6.5%. He also pointed out that Taco Bell had a new upscale menu, Cantina Bowl, which would attract Chipotle’s customers away from Chipotle, which had higher priced options. Even the size of the industry weighs in. Taco Bell has 5,600 retail locations while Chipotle has a mere 1,200 restaurants. This tragic event didn’t help CMG, but did help my group to some degree.

By now you might have come to think, “What if we hadn’t bought CMG?” The question can be answered with ease. We would have fallen close to last place. There were only two stocks that gained money for us. MasterCard had gained second to most money, with Chipotle coming in first. In the end, we would still have gains, but it wouldn’t have gained us much. It would make a small dent, but not enough to help us rise to the top. The rest of our stocks had done nothing but lose money (not very helpful). Thanks to CMG, my group and I did extremely well in the Stock Market Game.

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The SIFMA Foundation is dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of the financial markets for individuals of all backgrounds. Drawing on the support and expertise of the financial industry, the SIFMA Foundation provides financial education programs and tools that strengthen economic opportunities across communities and increase individuals' access to the benefits of the global marketplace. Notable Foundation programs include The Stock Market Game™, which has enabled more than 14 million students to become financially literate, the InvestWrite® national essay competition (www.investwrite.org), and the Capitol Hill Challenge™. For more information on the SIFMA Foundation, visit www.sifma.org/foundation.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) brings together the shared interests of hundreds of securities firms, banks and asset managers.  SIFMA's mission is to support a strong financial industry, investor opportunity, capital formation, job creation and economic growth, while building trust and confidence in the financial markets.  SIFMA, with offices in New York and Washington, D.C., is the U.S. regional member of the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA).  For more information, visit http://www.sifma.org.

McGraw Hill Financial is committed to empowering people by teaching the financial essentials necessary to navigate and thrive in the world. The company has supported The Stock Market Game™ since 2000.

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