SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Blake Reed, a fourth grade student at the Spotswood School District's E Raymond Appleby Elementary School won second place in the elementary school division of the Spring 2020 New Jersey North Stock Market Game. Reed along with Appleby School Technology teacher Paige Besthoff received the news this week. He participated in this year's competition along with 28 other fourth and fifth grade Appleby students.

The SIFMA Foundation is an educational non-profit organization whose goal is to help participants understand the complexities of the financial markets. In addition to online opportunities such as the Stock Market Game and InvestWrite, the foundation also offers the Capitol Hill Challenge and Invest It Forward. As a part of the Stock Market Game, 71 elementary schools in the New Jersey North division were given a hypothetical portfolio of $100,000 to invest over a 10-week period.

"Blake’s portfolio had 30% return on investment above the S&P 500," explained Besthoff. "Under normal circumstances, investors are told to expect an average of 10% return, and we all know this is not an average year. So while most investors are cringing at the thought of losing their retirement accounts, Blake has exceeded all expectations. All this from a fourth grade first time investor!"

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The Appleby students also participated in the InvestWrite essay contest. The essay contest is designed to help students gain a deeper understanding of the financial markets. Results of the essay writing contest have not been announced yet.

In addition to technology, Besthoff teaches the school's enrichment program. The Stock Market Game is a component of Appleby's Enrichment Studies program. Students participate in the weekly pull-out program along with their regular classroom math studies. The program focuses on financial literacy and investing. Along with their work in school, students conduct industry research and stock trades at home.

This is the third year, Appleby enrichment students have taken part in the Stock Market Game. In 2019, seven fifth graders from the Sposwood School District's Appleby School showed off their investment skills by taking first and second place in the SIFMA Stock Market Game's elementary division.

The members of that winning team included Angelina Tadevosyan, Mia Caggiano, Michael Palumbo, Timothy Uhl, Valerie Cicero, Josephine Longo and Hannah Lesniak. The then fifth graders were recognized along with Besthoff at a special awards ceremony in Jersey City last spring. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, an awards ceremony will not be held this year to recognize the achievement of participating students. Last year was the first time Appleby students placed first and second in the competition.