Middle School is located on the Toledo Campus for levels 7 and 8. Mary Brandon and Tom Strong are the classroom’s co-teachers.
This blog is managed by the WSM Middle School students. Volunteers from the group send in weekly blog posts to gain experience with writing and meeting deadlines. Check back every week to read about what’s happening in Middle School.
Time for Students to Turn Attention to Markets
Posted by West Side Montessori
Over 150 teams of middle schoolers vie for fattest portfolio after 12 weeks
By Chip Towns, Blade Business Writer
Boeing? Delta Air Lines? Spirit Airlines? Which company’s stock will take off over the next three months?
That’s what four middle-school students at Toledo’s West Side Montessori were trying to figure out last week.
Libby Stupica, Parker Caesar, Leen Yassine, and Benjamin Theis were busy on their computers, trying to pick four stocks that would do well over the next three months.
They and their classmates are competing in The Blade’s annual School Stock Contest, which gets under way this week.
Teacher Tom Strong had divided his students into six teams of four people. They will be among more than 150 teams competing in this year’s contest.
Libby, Parker, Leen, and Benjamin were putting together a diverse portfolio. They had chosen General Electric Co., Tesla Motors Inc., and American Eagle Outfitters. They were planning to add an airline stock.
Benjamin said he’d been studying Tesla and thought there was a good chance the stock price could either rise or fall substantially. He said he was willing to take a chance that the movement would be positive.
Parker said she chose American Eagle because people will be buying spring clothes, and the company did well last spring.
Libby said she has been watching GE since last year’s contest, and she thinks it is ready to move upward.
Leen said she liked Boeing Co. because of recent news about the company and because she thinks airline stocks will do well in the spring. But she was also considering Delta Air Lines Inc. or Spirit Airlines Inc.
All of the teams have picked four stocks that are selling for at least $5 a share. Each team gets a mythical $40,000 to be divided evenly between the four stocks. They will have one chance — midway through the 12-week contest — to exchange one or more of their stocks for another stock. At the end of the contest, the team whose portfolio has grown the most will be the winner. The winning team will get $250 for the students and $250 for the school. The second-place team will receive $250 for the school, and third place gets $100 for the school. Prizes may be cash or gift certificates.
The contest is sponsored by The Blade’s Newspaper in Education program, the Taylor Automotive Family, Fifth Third Bank, and the University of Toledo, which calculates the results.
The standings will be published each Tuesday in The Blade and on www.toledoblade.com/business starting on March 11.
Fifth Third Bank experts have been visiting classrooms to teach students some of the basics of investing.
“Fifth Third Bank wants to empower people financially, and we focus our community efforts on providing people with the financial tools, knowledge, and access they need to be successful,” said Ronald Belle, senior vice president and investment advisors division executive.
“Having the ability to earn a living, to manage finances responsibly, and to save income for future goals is important to everyone. Programs like the School Stock Contest introduce students to investing and reinforces sound financial principals early. This creates a pillar that can be built upon as the child grows and learns and becomes financially empowered,” Mr. Belle said.
Mr. Strong, who teaches math and social studies to the seventh-graders and eighth-graders at West Side Montessori, said the contest helps his students in a variety of ways.
He has them graph their stocks to keep track of their highs and lows. They use their math skills to figure out how many shares of a certain stock they can buy.
“You always get that question in math: ‘Why do we need to know this?’ This is like a real-life application. They are applying what they are learning to real life.”
His teaching colleague, Mary Brandon, points out that the contest helps students realize that current events can affect companies and their stock prices.
One of their teams last year finished sixth out of 115 teams. Others finished in the middle of the pack. One finished near the bottom of the standings.
Mr. Strong said students learned last year that one stock can do severe damage to a portfolio, even if the other three do well.
Some of the West Side Montessori teams were trying to apply another lesson learned last year.
“We are trying to make [our portfolio] more diverse,” Michielle Bland said.
Her teammate Maddy Vesoulis said her team last year made the mistake of having too many apparel companies. When the industry slumped, so did the team.
Ryan Gannon said the same thing happened last year when his team chose too many food-related stocks. Last week he was studying how Nintendo Co. Ltd. had done in various three-month intervals “because that’s the time frame of the competition.”
Students had various reasons for choosing stocks.
Claire Kohler said she suggested Chipotle Mexican Grill to her teammates because she likes the company’s values, including using chicken that is raised naturally.
T.J. Fidler pushed for Nike Inc.
“I’m a very big fan of their apparel,” he said. “I think it’s nice clothing, and you see lots of sports teams have the Nike logo on their uniforms.”
Trying to pick stocks that will do well over a 12-week period is slightly different than trying to make investments that will help secure your financial future over decades.
But there are lessons to be learned.
“This is a three-month contest, and we often see the students picking stocks because they like the company or the product produced,” Fifth Third’s Mr. Belle said. “Picking stocks in real life is not entirely different from that; we should buy companies we believe in.
“The experts at Fifth Third Bank are providing some guidance to the students before they pick their stocks, and we recommend that all investors seek sound, expert advice on any investment. A trained financial adviser can provide professional guidance to build an investment portfolio specific to each individual’s long-term goals,” Mr. Belle said.
Last year, a team from Springfield High School won the contest. During the 12 weeks of the contest, its mythical $40,000 portfolio fattened to $48,622. That increase of more than 21 percent far exceeded the 4.6 percent rise in the S&P 500 and the 5 percent growth in the Dow Jones Industrial Average during the same period.
Read more at The Blade.
Once Upon a Saturday
Posted by West Side Montessori
by Mary Brandon, Middle School Language Arts Teacher
“Since reading the Book Thief, I look at the sky differently,” I say, admiring a pink sun as it rises glistening off the white snow and painting the trees with black strokes against a lavender sky. The girls, impressed by the sunrise, attempt to capture its beauty on film; however, we agree that only a painter can truly capture its ethereal quality.
“It looks like something out of a fairy tale,” Parker says in hushed tones. And so begins our fairy tale on Saturday, Jan. 17, at Power of the Pen.
Around 150 students milled around Tiffin Middle School anxious to begin their first round of writing. They’ve been practicing for this creative writing competition for months, and they are ready. Students armed with only pens, prepare for battle — a battle of words — played out in ink upon a blank page. Room assignments are handed out, directions given, good wishes passed around, and with a final look at their teammates they are off!
A classroom, a board, and soon a prompt. The 7th grade students are given their first writing prompt: Discarded, you are an item at a yard sale remembering those days when you were loved by your owner. The 8th graders are given a different prompt. Their writing prompt for Round 1 was: Once upon a __________(use any word to fill in the blank except TIME).
All students hear the same directions and the same last words, “You have 40 minutes; you may begin writing.”
After three rounds of writing, smiling students rejoin their teammates for lunch and finally, after what seems like an eternity, the awards. After the welcome is complete the awards begin – “We had a hard time choosing the best of round winner for 7th level – our honorable mention goes to Benjamin Theis from West Side Montessori! The fairy tale day continues…
The top 15 students in each grade level are recognized on stage: three 7th level and four 8th level students are called up from West Side!
7th Level Individual Awards
- 1st place Sean Fernandez
- 5th place Benjamin Theis
- 9th place Rachel Gorman
8th Level Individual Awards
- 8th place Libby Stupica
- 12th place Wyatt Reynolds
- 13th place Parker Caesar
- 14th place Claire Kohler
The fairy tale Saturday continues. Each writing room has a number one winner; writing professionals from the area are asked to pick the best of the number one stories for each round. WSM 8th graders had two out of three Best of Round Winners.
8th Level Best of Round
- Best of Round 2 Libby Stupica
- Best of Round 3 CJ Leonard
By now you must be thinking WOW! West Side Montessori Middle School students had the best Saturday ever. But wait — there’s more! Congratulations to our awesome writing team!
Team Award Winners
- WSM 7th grade team placed second in the competition with their collective scores. The team includes: Hanna Ahmad, Sean Fernandez, Rachel Gorman, Zaynab Lazreq, Kathryn Rex, and Benjamin Theis.
- WSM 8th grade team placed first in the competition. The team includes: Parker Caesar, Claire Kohler, CJ Leonard, Wyatt Reynolds, Libby Stupica, and Maddy Vesoulis.
I climb into the car exhausted but proud. Looking out the window at a slate gray sky, I smile as snowflakes begin to coat the landscape. A winter wonderland complete with deer color our ride home, “Hey Mom! Look!” and I do, and I smile. What fairy tale is complete without a happy ending?
Student Watershed Watch Summit
Posted by West Side Montessori
All Middle School students have been given an opportunity to attend The Student Watershed Watch Summit tomorrow. We will be taking a bus to and from the Summit. It is located at Scott Park campus at the University of Toledo.
Pizza and fruit are provided for lunch. Students are welcome to pack their own lunches or eat the pizza lunch that is provided.
Friday is the Buy Local Sale. We hope to see you there! It is from 3 – 5:30 p.m. Students will be setting up the sale, working, and helping to clean up. Students have signed up for different jobs. Not all students will be working all day. Please ask your student about his or her role in the sale.
Buy Local Sale Vendor Features
Posted by Middle School
Shared Lives Studio is an art studio where those with disabilities can create and sell their art. The program is a way for the disabled to express themselves in the form of art. The artists range from all ages and have very distinct styles. The art ranges from clay, glass, paint, and much more.
Girls, if you’re going to wear a band, why not make it a pretty band. Pretty Bands are hair bands that range from hot pink flowers to multi-color zebra. You’ll be happy to know, that with all the different kinds of pretty bands, they all look fun and fashionable.
If you want to buy products from the Shared Lives Studio or Pretty Bands, then come to the West Side Montessori Middle School Buy Local Sale on Friday, Nov. 22, from 3-5:30 p.m.
3rd annual Buy Local Sale
Posted by WSM Middle School
Middle School has been preparing for this event for months. In preparation for this event, the Middle School students have contacted vendors, ordered tables, advertised, and sold Poinsettias. There will also be a raffle that includes products donated from each vendor to support the Middle School Business Committee. We hope to see you there!