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Lockport team has laser focus in stocks contest

The Lockport Laser Falcons from Lockport High School recently took home the top prize in the Junior Achievement’s ninth annual JA Stock Market Challenge. This unique computer simulated stock market event took place at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

A total of 495 students from 32 high schools throughout Western New York participated in last month’s competition, sponsored by M&T Bank. Students started with a portfolio of $500,000. Lockport finished with a 158.92 percent return on investment (ROI) and an end portfolio value of $1,294,603.

"Each year, I take my students to this event because, in my opinion, there is nothing else that can compare to the ‘real world’ experience they get,” said Jill DiTullio, Lockport High School business teacher. “Junior Achievement does a wonderful job with this event, and it's these types of events that keep the students interested in school and, specifically, the business world. We prepare each year by doing the in-class simulations that are provided. In the case of this winning team, they had an unconventional strategy that worked. A little luck never hurts either!"

Lockport team member Alyssa Singleton said, "The Stock Market Challenge was a great experience. It was a little stressful at times, but good strategies and even better teamwork are really what made the win possible."

Taking second place was Nichols School, finishing with a 151.29 percent increase in its portfolio and a final net worth of $1,256,448. This was Nichols’ first time participating in the event. LeRoy Junior Senior High School earned third place with an 82.70 percent ROI for a final net worth of $913,491.

Prior to the JA Stock Market Challenge, JA provided an in-class educational program called, “JA Take Stock in Your Future.” Volunteers visited classrooms to teach students important facts about investments and the stock market.

Prizes were awarded to the top three teams. Lockport High School winners received scholarship funds from MidCity Office Furniture, gift cards from Tops Friendly Markets and Perry's Ice Cream, and the honor of taking the engraved Wall Street Bull Trophy, sponsored by Northwest Bank, back to their school to display for the year.

Each member of the second-place team won a Kindle HD with case provided by BlueCross BlueShield of WNY. The third-place winners received Visa gift cards courtesy of West Herr Automotive Group.

Participating high schools included: Academy Program, Allegany-Limestone, Amherst Central, Attica, Byron-Bergen, Cardinal O'Hara, City Honors, Clarence, DaVinci, Depew, Dunkirk, Emerson School of Hospitality, Falconer, Fredonia, Hamburg, Holland and Hutch-Tech.

Also participating were: Jamestown, Le Roy Jr/Sr School, Lockport, Mount St. Mary Academy, Niagara Falls, Nichols, Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School, Pioneer, Riverside, St. Francis, Sweet Home, Tonawanda, UB STEP, West Seneca East and West Seneca West.

Proceeds from the JA Stock Market Challenge support future events, as well as JA’s financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and career and work-readiness programs for kindergarten through 12th grade students. In the 2016-2017 school year, Junior Achievement of WNY enriched the lives of 13,928 students in 167 schools and community organizations throughout the eight WNY counties.

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