There is a new club coming to Coral Gables Senior High known as the Stock Market Competition Club. The SMCC is a club dedicated to studying the stock market and all aspects concerning financial literacy, both inside and outside the market. This means having conversations involving the trading of securities and understanding how to manipulate money in an informed manner. Those who have traded or have experience in the market and are a part of the club can explain what they know about these elements with those looking to increase their depth of knowledge on these particular topics; the target demographic of the club.
Meetings will be held, like other Gables clubs at the moment, over Zoom after school, at least once a month. The club also aims, like others, to host in-person meetings by the start of next year, should schools return to a level of normalcy. In these monthly gatherings, SMCC members will practice and eventually compete in competitions like the Florida Stock Market Challenge.
“The stock market competition club is about bringing students together who are passionate about the stock market and learning about value investing for competition. We hope to study the market and compete in the Florida Stock Market challenge. We focus on teaching financial literacy and developing a strong mindset with skills for the future of the students,” senior Kai Palomino said.
The FSMC is a state-wide competition between students based on a simulated trading platform, using real time data of the real stock market. This means students are given an amount of credit and within a period of 10 weeks, they have up to 200 transactions. Any buy, sell or short counts as a transaction. The students are given 100,000 dollars at the start, but have the ability to borrow funds, if needed, as margin as well. The overall state winner will receive a trophy and a 150 dollars cash prize, followed by regional awards for first through third places in each district, ranging from 150 dollars to 30 dollars per team, respectively.
The FSMC, established more than 30 years ago, aims to “prepare young Florida students to make sound personal financial decisions and to assume productive roles in our free enterprise system.” The organization is run by the Florida Council on Economic Education, which hosts other competitions and learning opportunities including “Strive to Drive,” whose aim is to teach students about the economics of buying and maintaining a car. Similarly, they also have the “Financial Freedom Series,” a course offered in both English and Spanish that teaches students about the basics of money management.
The club is not only for those who are experienced traders, meaning students with any level of skill or involvement in the stock market can join the club for educational purposes. The group’s goal is to learn together and teach fundamental economic principles, especially through the practice of working with the stock market. Palomino, a senior at Coral Gables Senior High and a founder of the club, said “The best thing about this club is you do not need any experience to join, all you need is hard work, interest and a willingness to learn!”
To learn more about the club, Mr. Pico, Ms. Lopez and Kai Palomino are all available for any questions. Both Ms. Lopez and Mr. Pico are teachers of business classes in the National Academy Foundation, Mr. Pico being the official club advisor. There is also an instagram, @smcc_cgsh, where anyone can direct message for more info, or to become part of the teams chat to learn about dates, meetings and competitions. To become a member, simply reach out to one of these people or go to their Instagram and direct message them!
“I think the stock market club is a great idea. Anyone who wants to learn about the market, or maybe even get involved, can do so with their fellow peers who are also interested. I am glad the club was started since now more students will have the opportunity to learn about becoming financially literate,” sophomore Alejandro Garnier.
Something to keep in mind, however, is the disclaimer given by all administrators of the club, which is that the club is not meant to be run as a financial advisor for the members. The club is purely for educational purposes, as the stock market is not a joke but rather a legitimate trading platform. Kai stresses “This club is by no means trying to be run as financial advisors for the students. The stock market is not a game and should be treated with respect and this club is for educational purposes only.”
For now, the first official meeting has not been organized, which gives people who are interested the opportunity to attend the club from the beginning. Anyone who wants to become more knowledgeable in these fields, is welcome to sign up for when this first gathering occurs.