Program teaches Chicago students how to invest money

April 11, 2011 3:37:11 PM PDT
Students from several inner city Catholic schools got a firsthand lesson about investments and the markets Monday.

The 8th graders visited the Chicago Board of Trade as part of the Big Shoulders Fund Stock Market Project, a program that teaches children about financial markets, personal savings and investing concepts.

"It's really covering topics that we feel students should be exposed to at such an early age and might otherwise not be," said Antonio Ortiz, Big Shoulders Fund.

A total of 15 schools take part in the stock market project. Each one gets $3,000 and a financial expert who volunteers an hour a month to advise the students on investing in stocks.

"Concepts like compounding interest, diversification and just in general what makes a good stock," said Jim Hoeg, Citadel.

Hoeg says the schools compete with each other and try to have the best portfolio, choosing companies based on research and hunches.

"Acorn, Family Dollar, Sony -- they're not doing too well," said Vicente Carter, student.

Thirteen-year old Vicente Carter is a student at Children of Peace School. He only knew a little about the stock market before the program, but now Vicente talks like an expert.

"Something I didn't really expect was Family Dollar really doing well right now. They made our class a profit of $900," Vicente said.

Fourteen-year old Ashley Collins of St. Malachy hopes her school's stocks earn the most money. At the end of the school year, she says her classmates heeded advice to invest wisely.

"They said that you start off with a company that's slow...then wait until it builds up. Then you go in and buy their stuff," said Ashley.

All of the money each school is given to invest in stocks is donated to that school with a trophy going to the school with the best return on its investment.

Big Shoulders Fund hopes to expand the stock market project to 25 schools next year. For more information, visit