The frenetic trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange came to life for hundreds of students on Tuesday.

More than 200 high school students from across Tyler Independent School District set aside their book bags to become day traders at the Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge hosted by Tyler Junior College.

“This morning we’re going to turn Fifth Street into Wall Street,” emcee Bill Coates said as he kicked off the event.

About three dozen teams from Robert E. Lee and John Tyler high schools, as well as Tyler ISD’s Early College High School and Career and Technology Center, participated in the morning session.

Volunteers from the business community were on hand to help facilitate as teams watched the stock tickers, kept up with news alerts about the companies being traded and tracked trends.

The student event served as a precursor to an evening fundraiser with teams from the Tyler business community taking on the same challenge.

“By participating today you are making the most important investment anyone is all day: You’re investing in the future of our students,” Coates said.

Event co-chair Justin Lindley said the fundraiser would help Junior Achievement facilitate the in-school work it does with students from kindergarten through high school.

“The goal (of the student event) is twofold. It’s our job to teach financial literacy and competency, and it helps us engage older students,” Lindley said. “What we want for them to understand is what’s going on behind the scenes in the stock market.”

Lee senior Daniel Pineda’s team took an early lead, which he credited to thinking quickly.

“It’s kind of stressful seeing how quickly these things change,” he said.

Pineda said his team started by monitoring which of the cheaper stocks began to climb, in order to maximize their investment. He said they also paid close attention to the news ticker because the company’s image was a major factor in how well the stock did.

“My advice would be go with your gut,” he said. “Don’t overthink it; you don’t have much time.”


Cory is a multimedia journalist and member of the Education Writers Association, Criminal Justice Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has appeared on Crime Watch Daily and Grave Mysteries on Investigation Discovery.

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