Babin Congratulates West Orange Stark’s Capitol Hill Challenge Team

Published 12:17 am Wednesday, June 10, 2020

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By Dawn Burleigh

U.S. Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36), on Monday, congratulated West Orange Stark’s Capitol Hill Challenge team members on finishing 7 out of 8,400 students from across the nation. The Capitol Hill Challenge is a 14-week investment competition that requires public middle and high school teams to invest a hypothetical $100,000 in listed stocks, mutual funds, and bonds. Teams learn the value of the capital markets as they work together to diversify their assets while maximizing the return of their portfolios.

Wednesday, Mycah Brown, Kaiden Berry and Ryan Landry Jr. will be recognized during a virtual celebration on June 10.

“We are proud of ya’ll,” Mayor Larry Spears Jr. said. “Number 7 is remarkable. In this, 7th place is 1st place. In this time in our country for people to see who we are and what we are able to accomplish…”

Paul Ivory, of Young Financial Wizards, Inc. (YWF), said the group excelled in their accomplishment.

YWF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Financial and Investing organization for 7th thru 9th grade students.

“Other students participating in this had a classroom setting five days a week,” Ivory said. “This group did it while meeting one day a week at McDonald’s.”

Drowning out distractions, the group which began as one young lady, Sidnye Antoine-Williams, Mycah Brown, and Kaiden Berry, the group climbed to rank 200 before the COVID-19 Crisis began. Due to circumstance beyond her control, Antoine-Williams stepped down from the group and Ryan Landry Jr., a freshman took her place.

Congressman Brian Babin told the students they had a phenomenal story. He handed all four their own Congressional Recognition Certificate and a Challenge coin.

Sidnye Antoine-Williams, a sophomore, plans to participate in next year’s challenge.

“This would not have been possible with Johnathan Evans,” Ivory said. “He is unable to attend today due to being out of state.” Evans is a teacher who guided the students during the challenge.

With the students seeing a 20-percent gain over a 14 week period, many were asking if their would look at the portfolios.

SIFMA and the SIFMA Foundation congratulated all the participants of the 17th Annual Capitol Hill Challenge™ national financial education program, generously supported by the Charles Schwab Foundation, and announce the 10 teams who rose to the top of this rigorous investment competition. Student teams representing public schools in every US congressional district were invited to show their investing prowess by managing high-performing, diversified portfolios. Remarkably, in spite of school disruptions this Spring, 8,400 students and their teachers persevered to finish the Challenge, demonstrating incredible commitment and achieving impressive results. Dynamic market conditions made for an exciting competition.

“Congratulations to all the participants of this year’s Capitol Hill Challenge,” said Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., SIFMA president and CEO. “For more than a decade, the SIFMA Foundation’s Capitol Hill Challenge and Stock Market Game have helped students from around the country become financially capable,” said Ken E. Bentsen, Jr., SIFMA President & CEO. “Our industry is committed to helping students learn the importance of saving and investing, while also providing them a solid foundation to achieve their future financial goals. SIFMA commends the Members of Congress who have visited their local schools virtually and engaged with students on financial education.”

This 14-week challenge organizes teams of public middle and high school students by congressional district and state and teaches the importance of saving and investing, while simultaneously promoting a better understanding of our government. Teams invest a hypothetical $100,000 in listed stocks, bonds, and mutual funds and learn the value of the capital markets as they work together to diversify across asset classes and maximize the return of their portfolios.

Since, the Capitol Hill Challenge began in 2004, the program has reached more than 125,000 students through more than 5,000 matches of U.S. representatives and senators with schools.  Public middle and high school students from all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, participated in this year’s Challenge.

“Since day one, Schwab has been committed to making investing and financial education accessible to everyone,” said Jeff Brown, Senior Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Charles Schwab. “Our support of the Capitol Hill Challenge is an extension of our commitment to advocating for more financial literacy programs and to giving people the education and tools they need to take control of their financial futures. We congratulate the winning teams and commend all participating students and their teachers for their commitment to understanding personal finance.”

“Now more than ever, we need to inform and prepare young people for their financial lives,” said Melanie Mortimer, President of the SIFMA Foundation. “Through public-private collaborations like the Capitol Hill Challenge, the SIFMA Foundation, every US Member of Congress, and Charles Schwab are delivering financial capability to public schools nationwide. Together we are ensuring young people across America experience the capital markets and gain insights that lead to long-term success,” added Ms. Mortimer.

The competition uses the SIFMA Foundation’s curriculum-based Stock Market Game program, which features a high-tech, online investment simulation of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and ESG investments, to give students a better understanding of capital markets, global economic trends and fiscal policy. It is proven to advance students’ performance on math and economic tests and improves students’ and teachers’ personal financial behavior.

Founded in 1977 by academics at Buffalo State, the Stock Market Game has since expanded through a national network of educational nonprofit organizations to reach nearly 19 million students. 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 Capitol Hill Challenge is just one component of the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game, which operates in all 50 states. The program has significant benefits including professional development opportunities for teachers, teamwork and confidence building for students, and reinforcement of students’ technology and online research skills.


2020 Capitol Hill Challenge: Top 10 Schools:

  1. Ravenna High School, OH, Rob Portman
  2. Springbrook High School, MD, Jamie Raskin
  3. Vassalboro Community School, ME, Chellie Pingree
  4. Mat-Su Career & Tech Ed High School, AK, Dan Sullivan
  5. Burbank High School, CA, Adam Schiff
  6. Saline High School, MI, Debbie Dingell
  7. West Orange Stark High School, TX, Brian Babin
  8. Cosby High School, TN, Phil Roe
  9. Sunnyvale Middle School, TX, Lance Gooden
  10. Lubbock-Cooper High School, TX, Jodey Arrington