Despite students not being able to attend this year, Junior Achievement of Greater Tyler brought the stock market experience to East Texas as teams of sponsors competed to become the top earner.

On Tuesday, teams engaged in stock trading simulation at the second Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge at Green Acres Baptist Church’s CrossWalk Conference Center.

Participants had 60 trading days that each lasted 45 seconds to invest in stocks in hopes of having the most net worth at the end of the challenge.

Bryan Campbell, Junior Achievement of Greater Tyler board member and chair of the Stock Market Challenge, said the event falls in line with the organization’s purpose of educating students about finance.

“The Stock Market Challenge raises funds for Junior Achievement in order to fulfill Junior Achievement’s mission of teaching financial literacy to Tyler students,” he said.

This event was the second time Junior Achievement hosted the challenge, with the first in October 2019.

Campbell said COVID-19 caused the challenge to be postponed, and the winter weather delays stopped Tyler ISD students from attending. Under normal circumstances, about 200 students from Tyler ISD would attend.

The challenge allows students to become more familiar with the stock market exchange and also serves as a fundraiser for Junior Achievement, he said.

“We kind of simulate what the stock market is like in real life,” he said.

While students weren’t able to attend, sponsors, such as Southside Bank, American State Bank, Delek and Altra Federal Credit Union, participated to see what team could come out with the most earnings.

Delek came out as the top earner and General Manager Jeff Harris called the experience “very educational, fast-paced and fun.”

Don Whaley, Delek employee, was the leader of the the Delek stock challenge team and said it was exciting to make a comeback.

He added that there was “a lot of energy from the team and a great atmosphere” requiring fast-paced decision making.

American State Bank came in second, while Southside Bank placed third in the earnings contest.

John McDougald, Junior Achievement of Greater Tyler executive director, said the challenge helps students learn the importance of saving and investing. The funds raised help provide programs at local schools for free.

McDougald said Junior Achievement is a 100-year-old organization that serves millions of students in over 100 countries. The Tyler branch has been around since 1988, and nearly 6,000 students receive lessons annually.

“We teach financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness,” McDougal said.

Campbell said the high school students who would have come to the challenge didn’t miss out on the knowledge. Ahead of the event, students received weeks-long training about the stock market.

He hopes that the challenge can bring awareness to Junior Achievement and the financial literacy education it offers.

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I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.