- Olivia Dampier of Summit Ridge Middle School, Littleton, CO wins national distinction in the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite® essay competition with McGraw Hill Financial.
- InvestWrite, made possible in 2013 and 2014 by McGraw Hill Financial, challenges 4th - 12th graders to analyze investments and recommend portfolio allocations targeting financial goals.
- Olivia Dampier is among 20,000 students nationwide who take the InvestWrite challenge each year, developing the personal financial savvy needed to make real-world financial decisions.
Littleton, CO, February 19, 2014 – It takes years to build up the financial savvy to navigate the markets. But Olivia Dampier is decades ahead of the game. She just won distinction as the 1st place national winner in the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite® essay competition with McGraw Hill Financial. Dampier, a seventh grader at Summit Ridge Middle School, Littleton, CO claims this recognition in the middle school division in the Fall 2013 competition.The SIFMA Foundation's InvestWrite competition, launched in 2004 is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The program, made possible in 2013 and 2014 by McGraw Hill Financial, challenges 4th - 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 nearly 600,000 students nationwide who compete in The Stock Market Game™ program 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. 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 but then write essays individually about their experience. Dampier is one of 20,000 students across the nation who take the InvestWrite challenge each year.In her essay, Dampier explains why she chose to invest in a combination of solid stocks and safe and risky mutual funds as the basis for her 10-year graduate school savings plan. Olivia chooses to invest in companies that she is not only familiar with, but that provide the public with services and products that are essential to everyday life. She demonstrates this exceptionally when explaining why she decided to invest in Walmart. “I chose Walmart Stores Incorporated because I believed in it and it is one of the most popular and well known stores…I am pretty confident that more and more people will shop there…because Walmart has great savings and they have almost everything.“ Through this sort of advanced reasoning, combined with in-depth research, Dampier conveniently finds that the companies she invested in are not only popular, but that they were all also performing impressively in the market: “On Wall St. Cheat Sheet I found that their year to date return is 18.36%. They also say that they are looking for Walmart to continue to OUTPERFORM.”
The Fall 2013 winning InvestWrite essay composed by Dampier was chosen through rigorous judging by thousands of teachers and industry professionals 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. Dampier and her teacher, Kim Walter, will both be invited to New York City for a “Wall Street Experience” that includes tours of financial landmarks and a chance to visit the floor of the New York Stock Exchange."Teaching students at a very young age the basics of finance and the stock market is essential to their broad education and to being well-informed investors later in life,” said Douglas L. Peterson, President and Chief Executive Officer of McGraw Hill Financial. “As financial markets become more complex and more global, investors of all ages can benefit from learning how to save, spend and earn money wisely—what we call ‘financial essentials.’ We are delighted to support the SIFMA Foundation and congratulate Olivia on this achievement.”
“SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are transformative programs that prepare students like Olivia for college, career and life,” said Melanie Mortimer, Executive Director of the SIFMA Foundation. “Our students do measurably better on math, economics and personal finance tests. They also learn to work in teams, manage change, monitor and analyze the impact of global business and economic activity, and become smart consumers. We are proud to partner with McGraw Hill Financial and applaud their longstanding commitment to providing young people a better understanding of the capital markets and a better future.”
The SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite competition bridges classroom learning in mathematics, social studies, language arts, business and economics with the practical research and knowledge required for long-term personal financial planning. Students are, in fact, building on what they have learned through their participation in the Stock Market Game, which has reached more than 15 million students since its inception in 1977.An independent study by Learning Point Associates found that students who participated in the Stock Market Game scored significantly higher on mathematics and financial literacy tests than their peers who did not participate. They also found that teachers who taught the Stock Market Game reported that the program motivated them to better plan for their own financial futures. The Stock Market Game has been named the only program that successfully increased scores on the Jumpstart Coalition’s test of high school students’ financial literacy. The Spring 2014 InvestWrite program is open to teachers and students registered in the Stock Market Game. The session is currently underway and runs through April 23, 2014. Teachers can find the essay questions and information they need to participate at www.investwrite.org.
Dampier, who has been playing softball since she was five, continues to play the sport competitively and has a genuine passion for sports. Therefore it is no surprise that besides Social studies, Gym is Olivia's favorite school subject! She aspires to attend college in Oregon, California or Washington and play softball at the collegiate level.
Walter has been an educator for 19 years. For the past 12 years she has taught at Summit Ridge Middle School, where she has taught art, technology, GT and yearbook. Holding a PhD in Educational Leadership and Innovation from UC Denver, and having taught technology and art in Australia and English in Taiwan, Walter's background is nothing short of impressive. When she is not teaching and raising her two little girls, Walter enjoys snowboarding and traveling.
Dampier and Walter will be recognized at an event at event at Summit Ridge Middle School on February 19, 2014 at 2:00 PM CT. It will be attended by students, faculty and representatives of McGraw Hill Financial and the SIFMA Foundation.
Text of Olivia Dampier’s Winning Essay: My 10-Year Savings Plan
I am starting a 10-year savings plan in order to have money for graduate school.
I have chosen to invest in stocks and mutual funds to help me reach my goals. I chose stocks and mutual funds instead of cash and bonds because I feel that I can make more money in 10 years with this plan. Most of my money will be invested in solid stocks and mutual funds but I will invest a little bit into a riskier mutual fund that could return more money.
When I decided to invest in stocks I wanted to choose the best stocks. I found the top 10 stocks list from experts on MSN Money. From their top 10 stocks, I chose the ones that I knew and believed in. I narrowed the top 10 down to three. The three I chose were Comcast Corporation (CMCSA), The Home Depot Incorporated (HD), and Walmart Stores Incorporated (WMT).
I first chose Comcast Corporation because I have it as my cable and internet company and I like Comcast. I also chose Comcast because most people want and need internet and cable. After that I went to Wall St. Cheat Sheet and found that the experts say that they look for Comcast to OUTPERFORM. This means that they expect the stock to do better than average and they think that it is a smart buy. Then I went to Yahoo Finance and saw that their N.A.V was $48.72 and their one year target estimate was $53.71. I also saw that their year to date return was 7.01%. In five years the NAV has increased by over 200%, which is amazing.
I chose Walmart Stores Incorporated because I believed in it and it is one of the most popular and well known stores. I also chose Walmart because everyone goes shopping and I am pretty confident that more and more people will shop there. Most if not all people will shop there because Walmart has great savings and they have almost everything. On Yahoo Finance Walmart’s NAV is $80.94 and their one year target estimate is $83.77. Walmart’s NAV has increased by 39.51% in the last five years. On Wall St. Cheat Sheet I found that their year to date return is 18.36%. They also say that they are looking for Walmart to continue to OUTPERFORM.
I chose The Home Depot Incorporated because I believed in them and as the economy gets better more people will start making home renovations and they will feel more comfortable doing it as well. I also chose Home Depot because they can help you with building sheds, playhouses, treehouses, and more. On Yahoo Finance I saw that Home Depot’s NAV was $78.76 and that their one year target estimate was $87.23. Home Depot’s NAV has increased by an amazing amount of 222.58% in the last five years. On Wall St. Cheat Sheet I found that its year to date return is 31.09% and that they expect Home Depot to OUTPERFORM.
I decided to also invest in mutual funds which invest in a lot of different stocks and bonds. I wanted to choose a safer mutual fund and put a little money in a riskier mutual fund because it could return more money over time. For the safer mutual fund I chose Janus Global Allocation Fund-Conservative (JCAAX) which invests in different companies throughout the world. According to the Janus website the fund has a four star rating from Morningstar which is very good and a year to date return of 9.4%, a three year return of 8.05% and a five year return of 11.9%. Also U.S News rated this fund 30 out of 129 World Allocation Funds. For the riskier mutual fund I chose Oppenheimer Global Value Fund (GLVAX) which invests in U.S and foreign companies. According to the Oppenheimer website the fund has a five star rating from Morningstar which is the best rating that you can get and a one year return of 34.98% and a five year return of 26.27%. U.S News rated this fund 8 out of 297 World Stock Funds.
I believe that a 10-year savings plan with stocks and mutual funds is going to end up benefitting me at the end of ten years because they will most likely have made me a lot of money with a good 10-year return. I also believe that I have chosen good and strong money making stocks and mutual funds for my 10-year plan. I hope that at the end of my savings plan I will have enough money for graduate school.