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Local student wins national contest for stock market app

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PLEASANT HILL, Mo. -- A local seventh grader got a big surprise Monday at a school assembly after winning first place in a national writing competition for her investing app.

The app is to help with long-term investing.

“I feel kind of special,” said Pleasant Hill middle school student Abby Teitelbaum, who invented the app for the contest held by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIMFA).

Her classmates erupted in applause and cheers for 13-year-old Abby when they found out she took the top prize in the national SIFMA foundation InvestWrite competition in a surprise assembly.

“Didn't think I’d win,” a shocked Teitelbaum said.

Melanie Mortimer, the President of the SIFMA Foundation said the idea is to prepare students for their financial futures.

“So they get the real hands-on experience to be able to better understand how to manage investing,” Mortimer said.

The InvestWrite competition is a culminating activity for the stock market game.

“The stock market game put teams of 3-5 students in portfolio management positions, where they allocate $100,000 across stocks, bonds, mutual funds. It's all hypothetical when it comes to the cash part, but the actual trading platform they use is state-of-the-art, just like any broker or financial adviser would be interfacing with,” Mortimer added.

After completing the stock market game program they were invited to take part in the InvestWrite competition where, Mortimer said, "they independently write an essay about a long term investing scenario."

Teitelbaum wrote about an investing app that helps users better understand long term investing. It shows which stocks are doing well, which ones to buy.

“I had to do a lot of research and I had to figure out what functions to put in the app so that it was easy to use,” Teitelbaum said. “I think it would help people a lot because if you know how the stock market works, then you can use it. If you don't know how it works, it gives you a quick tutorial and you can figure out how to use the stock market very easily. Most of all, it helps you make money in the stock market.”

Teitelbaum's teacher, Michelle Humphrey, said her class participates in the contest every year. Contests like these are part of a larger strategy by the Missouri Council on Economic Education, which claims that "by teaching economics and personal finance to young people, MCEE is helping to create a more prosperous future."

“You're never too young to start making good financial decisions and planning for your financial future,” Humphrey said.

And she said she's not surprised Teitelbaum won.

“Abby is a fantastic writer, and she worked really hard on this essay,” Humphrey added.

Abby and her teacher were invited to the Bats Exchange located in Lenexa after the awards event today. Teitelbaum is among 20,000 students -- 4th through 12th grade -- who took on the challenge. The winner is selected by industry experts.

As her prize, Abby is going to New York City in June with a parent and her teacher.

She's going to the NASDAQ and through the financial district so the virtual experience she's had in school can become a reality.