Ninth-grader Nicolas Marchionda was thrown a surprise celebration at the Aug. 3 Ogdensburg school board meeting.
In the spring, he won a national award in the InvestWrite competition held by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Foundation (SIFMA). He entered the InvestWrite “Stock Market Game” when he was in the eighth grade, and won.
Nicolas talked about starting his own investment account with “a mindset of long-term growth.” He did his research and created a short-term and long-term plan. In his essay, Nicolas wrote about getting the funds for his college education and then saving for his first house.
Valerie Reeth is the director of instruction and curriculum, director of technology at the middle school, and a mathematics teacher. She was Nicolas’s teacher.
“Nick is the most financially savvy student that I have taught during my years at Ogdensburg,” she said.
Reeth, who was also honored at the meeting, told the Advertiser News that “the essay was judged on rationale, understanding the subject matter, and writing style.”
Reeth said Nicolas won second in New Jersey and first at the national level, out of 1,200 essays submitted.
“Students had to combine their financial knowledge with their writing skills,” she said. “Nicolas outlined his plans for future financial success in the essay.”
Jessica Bayer, the InvestWrite national program manager and SIFMA member, attended the event via Skype. Bayer said the SIFMA Foundation is dedicated to promoting an understanding and knowledge of economic markets for middle school children.
Bayer told the Advertiser News that Melanie Mortimer, the foundation president, said its programs provide youth of all backgrounds, especially in underserved communities, the knowledge and tools they need for financial independence.
“We equip teachers to bring investor education into classrooms and prepare young people early in life to navigate the capital markets and financial decision-making,” Mortimer said. “To date, we’ve transformed the lives of 20 million students like Nicolas Marchionda through learning that is practical and fun.”
Bayer said InvestWrite sets up a platform between classroom learning and the real-world market game program for students and provides an investment competition in which students take what they’ve learned from the stock market game and apply it in a written format. They are putting all their thoughts on paper — how they manage their portfolio and their investments — and “they are able to take their experience and put it into writing.”
In other news, the school board announced that the start date for the students will be Thursday, Sept. 2. Students will attend in-person and full-time.
“Nick is the most financially savvy student that I have taught during my years at Ogdensburg.” Valerie Reeth