The Stock Market Game at YHS


Callin Noonan, Writer

For years now, the economics classes here at York High School, and many schools all around the state, have participated in a real-time fake-money stock market simulation game. The game takes place over a 12 week period, against teams in similar economics classes around Maine.

Mr. Cleary, an economics teacher here at York, talks about the reasoning behind playing the Stock Market Game: “What I love about this project, and about teaching economics in general, is that it’s a window into the adult world. It’s a way for our seniors to see themselves as independent adults in the very near future, while also giving them some guidance and training before they take that next step. I hope that we’re helping to make the thought of entering the ‘real world’ a little less scary.”

Even the students participating feel that the game helps them in one way or another. Greta Yauch, when questioned about how participating in the stock market simulation benefited the students said, “The stock market game has been a great experience that has taught me much about the cycles of the economy and the potentials of the stock market. I’m not interested in trading stocks as my main career, but participating in this simulation of the stock market has made me realize the value of trading stocks, even if not as a main source of income.”

But there’s definitely nothing easy about competing in the stock market game. According to Mr. Cleary, “Students have access to a lot of information, but it’s mostly written for adult investors. They have to infer what will happen to a stock when a company reports the release of a new product, a corporate scandal, layoffs, profits, etc… It involves research, psychology, sociology, math and an understanding of civics. Students generally go into this process without knowing hardly anything, even what a stock is, and tend to figure a lot of it out by the end.” Clearly, this is something very beneficial to students here, but certainly not something with a small learning curve.

And as for the results of the student’s efforts in this game, Mr. Cleary notes, “We’ve had two YHS student teams win the entire state in the last 10 years, John Bychok was the last one. He actually doubled his initial $100,000 investment in 2020! No one from my Economics classes have won yet, but Chris Connors is currently #2 out of 382 teams in the state and held the #1 spot for several weeks.” 

But more than just providing a competitive way to learn about stocks as a topic in economics class, Mr. Cleary says of its long-term benefits; “The stock market game helps students understand how the stock market works… Even if they never invest in individual stocks like this, it helps them to understand other investments that use stocks, like Mutual Funds, ETFs and Index Funds that everyone should invest in for their retirement.”

The stock market game is the perfect way for students here at YHS to gain needed and useful knowledge on how to invest safely and how to become informed on where their money can go. Whether or not the students playing will use the information they learn straight out of high school or many years into the future, they will gain valuable skills regardless.