BERLIN – A local student has been named the state champion for a simulated stock market game.
Stephen Decatur High School junior Chris Kaufman won first place in this year’s Stock Market Game as a member of the after-school Investment Club. Over the course of the game, he earned a 20% return on a $100,000 virtual investment.
The Stock Market Game is an online simulation of global capital markets that is offered annually to students in grades 4-12. As part of the program, students research industries and companies and are given $100,000 in virtual money to invest in stocks.
“Everyone in the Stock Market Game starts with $100,000 and they have the time that is offered to buy and sell stocks on the stock market, such as Nike or Apple or Amazon,” Kaufman said. “Once they find a stock to buy or short, they hope to make a profit on it.”
Kaufman said he joined the school’s Investment Club – led by business teacher Kurt Marx – in ninth grade to learn more about the stock market.
“My dad does stocks in the stock market with real-world money, and I’ve always been quite interested in doing it for myself,” he said.
Since that time, Kaufman has participated in the Stock Market Game six times. In ninth grade, he won his first state champion title, and this year, he competed against 857 teams in Maryland to take the lead again for the high school division.
“It was definitely a hard competition this time …,” he said. “It feels great to win, but it also feels great to compete against all of the other students and see how they did with their stocks.”
This year, Kaufman ended the game with more than $120,000, or a 20% return on his investment.
“I invested in stocks that were mainly hiked up by day traders for small news, such as FUV and Bio-Path,” he said.
Marx noted Kaufman is the only two-time state champion of the Stock Market Game in school history.
“We’ve had eight state champions from this school and two of them came from Chris,” he said. “Prior to Chris, the most recognized student was Andrew Haas. He had one state championship and three regional championships.”
Marx applauded Kaufman’s accomplishments and drew an analogy to illustrate his point.
“When you look at the number of people he was competing against and to beat that many people just once is awesome …,” he said. “But to be a state champion a third of the times you play is off the charts. It’s like Babe Ruth the year he hit 60 home runs and beat every American League team. It’s extremely impressive.”
Kaufman – who will graduate this spring – said he will attend Salisbury University in the fall and plans to major in computer science and minor in information systems. But he said he would like to continue the stock market program in college.
“I hope to take some business classes while I’m at Salisbury University and hopefully participate in a stock market club that’s offered there,” he said.
Kaufman also offered advice to anyone who invests in the stock market.
“Watch the news and look for trends,” he said.