These Hartselle Junior High School students claimed the top five awards in the 2013 national InvestWrite essay competition. Pictured, from left, are: Hudson Sneed, first place; Thomas McCleskey, second place; Tomas McCleskey, fifth place; Mary Adams, second place; Macie Holder, fourth place; and Trevor Pearson, third place.  | Clif Knight
These Hartselle Junior High School students claimed the top five awards in the 2013 national InvestWrite essay competition. Pictured, from left, are: Hudson Sneed, first place; Thomas McCleskey, second place; Tomas McCleskey, fifth place; Mary Adams, second place; Macie Holder, fourth place; and Trevor Pearson, third place. | Clif Knight

Archived Story

HJHS students sweep national essay contest

Published 11:33am Friday, May 17, 2013

Hudson Sneed, a sixth grader at Hartselle Junior High School, is decades ahead of most adults when it comes to having the savvy to successfully negotiate the stock market.

He was recognized on Thursday as the winner in the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite essay competition with McGraw Hill Financial. Four of his classmates were not far behind. They were named second through fifth place winners in the same competition.

All five were identified as winners and presented awards to commemorate their achievements at a sixth grade assembly in the school cafeteria.

Wanda McAbee, Hartselle Schools Student Services – Gifted Program Coordinator, announced the winners and Hartselle Mayor Don Hall presented awards.

Recognized as second through fifth place winners were: Mary Adams, second place; Trevor Pearson, third place; Macie Holder, fourth place; and Thomas McCleskey, fifth place.

Adams and Pearson each received a mini notebook computer and Holder and McCleskey each was awarded a $50 gift card.

Sneed received a three-day, two-night trip to New York City where he, a parent and his teacher will share a “Wall Street Experience,” including a tour of the financial district and a visit to the New York Stock Exchange trading floor.

The InvestWrite competition, launched in 2004 and made possible in 2013 by McGraw Hill Financial, challenges fourth through 12th grade students to analyze an investment scenario and recommend portfolio allocations targeting short- and long-term financial goals. The competition serves as a culminating activity for the 600,000 students nationwide that compete in the Stock Market Game each year.

InvestWrite invites students to develop the personal financial savvy needed to make real-world financial decisions with confidence and a deeper understanding of opportunities, consequences and benefits. The 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. They work in groups during the Stock Market Game program and then write essays individually about their experience. Sneed is one of 20,000 students across the nation who accepted the InvestWrite challenge in 2013.

In is essay, Sneed described the potential impact of sequestration on Boeing stock. “The Washington Post estimated that sequestration would cut defense spending by 7.9 percent,” wrote Sneed. “However, I found that experts believed the budget cuts in defense spending would not have a gigantic short-term impact on Boeing’s financial health because most of the money Boeing receives for defense was set aside years ago.” He and his teammate purchased only 100 shares of Boeing to ensure a diversified portfolio. According to Sneed, if they had purchased 1,000 shares as he had originally considered.

Sneed’s essay was chosen through rigorous judging by thousands of teachers and industry professional who evaluate students’ understanding of asset allocation, the stock market, and factors that drive investments as well as their expression of investment ideas in essay form.

“It’s unprecedented for one school to have all of the top five winners,” said McAbee. “We were told that the judges were surprised at the outcome and re-read the essays, but nothing changed. I want to thank the administrators, teachers and parents for their support of the Stock Market Game and InvestWrite Program, as well as all of the students who participated. I consider all of you as winners.”

“I’m going to be in Montgomery for an Alabama League of Municipalities Convention this weekend,” Mayor Hall told the students. “It’s going to be my pleasure to boast about Hartselle having national essay winners as well sports winners.”

 

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