Financial sense pays off for Northport fifth-grader

Originally from Times of Huntington, TBR News Media

March 12, 2015 |

By Julianne Cuba

A Trinity Regional School fifth-grader is a whiz kid when it comes to trading and the financial markets.

On Feb. 25, Jack Nixon, of Northport, along with his computing teacher, Lauren LeMieux, were recognized after Jack placed third in the nation in the InvestWrite Competition, sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Foundation and McGraw Hill Financial.

Since 1977, more than 15 million students have participated in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game. The InvestWrite competition was launched in 2004, and it challenges students in grades four to 12 to learn and understand the stock market through real-world practices and education in the classroom.

This year, the InvestWrite competition had students write an essay to a friend and encourage the use of saving and investing money, rather than spending it. Beginning in 2013, McGraw Hill Financial has sponsored the program.

Out of about 2,500 fifth-graders, from all 50 states, Jack’s essay placed third.

After selling eggs produced by chickens in his backyard, Jack said he invested all the money he earned in a TD Ameritrade account.

Along with help from his mother, who works for a mutual funds company, and through his own personal financial experience, Jack says he was able to learn the ways of the markets.

I’m so happy for him, after I found out he won,” Jack’s mom, Diana Ferrone, said. “And then I read [his essay] and I was like ‘Wow, what he’s saying really comes from a child’s point of view but it’s so smart.’ He’s investing, and he’s not afraid of it.”

Jack said he had no idea he had won the competition until the surprise ceremony at his school on the morning of Feb. 25, featuring his mom.

“I was excited and then once I got up on the stage, she appeared for some reason and I’m like when did you get here?” Jack said of his mom. “I was completely surprised. I didn’t even know I could win that kind of level of competition.”

Jack’s computing teacher, LeMieux, said this is the first year her class participated in the competition, but after the results, she said she’ll definitely be doing it again.

“I feel this game gives them a real-world connection, with history and economics and learning how to write a great essay,” she said. “Learning to work in teams and things of that nature. They’re so excited about it. They realize how much they’re learning and having fun at the same time.”

SIFMA President Melanie Mortimer said that since the program’s inception, the country has seen increased standardized test scores, as well as an increased understanding of economics and personal finance.

“We believe that young people can and must learn personal finance as early in life as possible,” she said. “Because more and more, they are being introduced to financial decision making earlier in their lives … in education, it’s really critical for learning to be practical and fun.”

Jack, who is also a Boy Scout and a member of Huntington YMCA’s swim team, said he doesn’t want to go directly into trading as a career.

“I want to go into more hotel kind of management,” he said. “I think it’s called ‘Hotel Impossible’ — the show — I kind of liked it. I think it would be good for me.”

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