Mr. Paz Leads his Students to the JA Stock Market Challenge


Courtesy of Mr. Paz

The Gables students lined up next to Mr. Paz after the JA Stock Market Challenge.

Part of Mr. Paz’s economic curriculum is giving students the opportunity to participate in a real-world immersive simulation experience that resembles the New York Stock Exchange, the Junior Achievements Stock Market Challenge. In this challenge, a day’s worth of trading stocks is represented by minute increments until students complete a full trading cycle of 60 days in about one hour.  

Always putting himself before others, Mr. Paz took the initiative to launch a brand new educational activity, the JA Stock Market Challenge. On Oct. 20, three teams from Coral Gables Senior High School participated in the seventh annual challenge, an event that Mr. Paz organizes with the goal of providing students with a unique learning experience. For more than 20 years, Mr. Paz has embedded JA into his classes to give students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the economics field and to motivate them to make their own stock market investments. 

Brimming with adrenaline, the students arrived at the Brickell City Center, eager to hear the bell that would signal the start of the competition. The Cavaliers began by investing as soon as they heard the ring and with every passing minute, something new occurred such as the stock market rising or crashing. In order to achieve success with a high return on investment, each group had to collaborate as a team and fulfill their individual roles.

“The environment was quite exciting for me because I had never been to anything like this event before; it was very professional, challenging, and definitely a little stressful,” senior Misel Marquez said.

The anxious students continued to invest despite many ups and downs in the stock market throughout the duration of the challenge. When the closing bell rang, students got to see their net worth and their return of investment. After the challenge was finished, the winners were announced one by one; Gables ended up placing fifth among 17 schools other schools in the Miami-Dade district.

“Even though we did not win, it was still a tremendous learning experience for us in many aspects. We gained a lot of experience in teamwork and responsibility, as well as knowledge of how to manage enormous sums of money,” senior Nicolas Salazar said.

JA offers the Cavaliers vocational experience in entrepreneurship, financial literacy and career readiness. With intense decision-making and problem-solving skills, students garnered knowledge of the stock market and learned the benefits and risks of investing in a business that can potentially increase or decrease their personal wealth.

My ultimate goal is to get every student who is interested to teach them about the fundamentals of investing and most importantly, to get them to actually invest,

— Mr. Paz

Although not all of Mr. Paz’s students plan on going into a career involving economics, they were still able to develop a general comprehension of the stock market and learned how to make savvy future investments. This year, Mr. Paz is also planning on taking approximately 60 Gables seniors to Little Haiti to teach underprivileged elementary school students about economics. This challenge, along with the variety of different programs will be continued at Gables, in hopes of enhancing student learning.