6th Grader’s Ranks First in the Nation

The results are in! Carly O’Connell, a sixth grade student at Old Hammondtown School, MA is the first place winner of the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite® student essay competition, sponsored by the SIFMA Foundation and SIFMA member firms. O’Connell claims top prize for the middle school division of the Fall 2012 national competition.

As a culminating activity for the country’s 600,000 annual Stock Market Game™ participants, InvestWrite® challenges 4th-12th graders to analyze an investment scenario and write an essay offering investment advice. 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. Carly O’Connell is one of 20,000 students each year across the nation who take the InvestWrite challenge.

In her essay, O’Connell wrote an imaginary blog about the end of the Hostess Twinkie. She commented on what would happen to the stock price of the company in the market to buy Hostess. Due to the massive media coverage of the loss of America’s beloved dessert, O’Connell  wrote, “I invested in Flowers Foods because beyond the fact that it seemed to be financially wise, it is a company that I had personal interest in owning. Through the Stock Market Game, I learned to trust my instincts and invest in things I liked.”

The Fall 2012 winning InvestWrite essay composed by O’Connell was chosen through rigorous judging by thousands of teachers and industry professionals who evaluate students’ analysis of asset allocation, the investment potential of various publicly traded stocks, the students’ overall understanding of the stock market, and the manner in which they express their investment ideas in essay form.

“InvestWrite and the Stock Market Game program require students like Carly to monitor daily global market activity, business trends and economic factors that drive investments to determine the short and long-term growth potential of industries, companies, asset classes and specific stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.” said Melanie Mortimer, Executive Director of the SIFMA Foundation. “They are then asked to make sophisticated, thoughtful recommendations that reflect what is expected of college and career-ready students”

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. Participants master the fundamentals of personal finance, investing and economics as early as fourth grade and become active and engaged learners, seeking out new information, applications, and connections in their daily lives.

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 the program motivated them to better plan for their future and to engage in financial planning, research, and use of investment products and services. 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.

O’Connell’s teacher, Tara Boening, says, “Carly is a conscientious student with a shining personality. Her effort and determination are admirable, and she is a true leader in the classroom.” O’Connell loves basketball and enjoys participating in the drama club. Boening has taught sixth grade at Old Hammondtown since 2004. The number of students participating in the Stock Market Club has grown due to the excitement of her students and she is “looking forward to continuing the program, which is an excellent enrichment opportunity.”

Boening and O’Connell will be recognized at an assembly to be held at Old Hammondtown School on March 28, 2013 at 12:45 PM. The event will be attended by students and faculty along with Melanie Mortimer, Executive Director of the SIFMA Foundation.


Text of O’Connell Winning Essay:

Your number one stock advice blog! This blog is written by an average person with a pulse on what people like and need.  The information published on this site has made investors into believers. Stock growth starts with the consumer. If you want to stay in touch with consumer trends, follow this intuitive young woman to find out what’s hot in the stock world.

Today’s Post: RING DING, ANYONE?

You must have been living under a rock this past month if you have not heard that the great Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s, Devil Dogs, Snowballs, and many more are off the market. As Hostess filed for bankruptcy, people have gone crazy for the yellow sponge cakes with frosting in the middle. Not surprising to this blogger, people are buying Twinkies on E-bay for $200.  Humorists may say the reason that they are in such demand is because they never go bad, and these sweets can be passed down through generations. The masses have outpoured that a piece of their childhood will be lost if the snacks are no longer produced. Regardless, the Hostess brand is getting phenomenal free advertising on their products. The media circuit has been swarmed with commentaries. Late-night talk show hosts, major newspapers and magazines, and practically every local and national news channel have covered the bakery’s shut-down, though the coverage is less about the operations of a poorly run company, and more about the loss of a beloved snack cake. Nevertheless, the company is getting more advertising to drive up sales when the cakes eventually go on sale again. Consequently, the stock prices of whoever purchases this bankrupt company will jump.

Beyond the positive, initial short-term growth from this recent media blitz, the future of the product is looking good. Flowers Foods Inc. (FLO) is rumored to be a potential buyer. They already have a Tastykake brand, so the manufacturing capabilities are there. I invested in Flowers Foods because beyond the fact that it seemed to be financially wise, it is a company that I had personal interest in owning. Through the Stock Market Game, I learned to trust my instincts and invest in things I liked.

If Flowers Foods buys Hostess, they will show great growth.  If they don’t, they are still a stable company that has shown moderate growth over the past year. As a potential investor, you need to trust your instincts. If after you read this, you have a craving for a “Ring Ding,” invest. 

My mother told me a story of when Coca-Cola changed their soda formula, and the world was outraged. They sold only “New Coke.” That’s when the name Coca-Cola Classic was born, and it blew away the “Pepsi Challenge.”  If Flowers Foods buys Hostess, this is the Hostess brand’s big chance to be reborn.


From, Serena02567 3 hours ago
These are great tips! Just put 100 shares in the company— hope you’re right!

From, Laurajam045 2 hours and 30 minutes ago
You better be right on these tips. Just invested a lot of money in FLO!

From, Mark4567 2 hours ago
I’m a stockbroker and invest a lot of my money and other people’s money in this company. Hope you’re right!

From, Carly’s Advice 1hour ago
You won’t be disappointed.

From, TaraB4567 40 minutes ago
This will have a positive effect on the company. Their future looks good!

From, carol23 20 minutes ago
My granddaughter wants a Twinkie for Christmas!

From, Carly’s Advice 5 minutes ago
We will see what happens tomorrow. Good luck to anyone who invested!

Leave A Comment...