(Pictured left to right: Robert P. Sharps, First United Bank & Trust retired, Preston Sharps, First United Bank & Trust VP & Senior Wealth Advisor, Athena Wilson and Ryan Wolf, Southern High School Principal)
First United Bank and Trust recently recognized Mrs. Athena Wilson for being a participating teacher in the Stock Market Game competition for the last 29 ½ years. Mrs. Wilson, who taught accounting and finance classes at Southern High Garrett School (SGHS), retired at the end of this school year. During her career, she supervised student teams in 59 Stock Market Game competitions, which involved over 1,200 of her students.
Preston Sharps of First United Bank and Trust, who is the current advisor, and Robert P Sharps, who retired from First United Bank and Trust and was the advisor for 25 years, hosted a luncheon for Mrs. Wilson and commended her for her significant contributions to the financial literacy of her students and for her and her students’ tremendous successes in the competition.
According to Carissa Rodeheaver, First United Bank and Trust Chief Executive Officer, “The Stock Market Game has been a hallmark of financial education at Southern High School for many years, bringing a practical and hands on aspect to the curriculum. It has been our pleasure to sponsor this program and to work with Athena and her students. She helped to lay the foundation and provided ongoing support to the participants. Under her leadership, along with the expertise of Rob and Preston Sharps, Garrett County has been well-represented in the competition, winning many awards over the years. We will miss her participation but wish her the best in her retirement!”
SGHS has had the honor of 6 student teams winning first place in the State competition and with 3 teams winning second at the State level. Many more teams placed in the top 10% of the rankings at the State level. On the Regional level, there have been 13 teams finish in first place under the supervision of Mrs. Wilson, with many more placing second or third. Mrs. Wilson has personally won the State competition 2 times participating in the Adult Teams. Regionally, she has ranked in the top three places 8 times. The Adult rankings are separate from student rankings. Additionally, Mrs. Wilson ranked as #1 Teacher Advisor for 10 different sessions.
Mrs. Wilson commented on the numerous changes she welcomed during the years. “During the last 29 ½ years, we have progressed from mailing in purchases of stock (yes, going to the post office daily), and then waiting a week for results of team rankings, to today’s real-time play with rankings available every school day. The Stock Market Game has helped me teach students that investing can be fun and they are able to learn skills that will last a lifetime. The students’ involvement and excitement enlighten me every session we participate. Each session is different and new, which makes many years of playing the Game a new experience each time.”
“The Sharps’ have been a key component in the success of the students throughout the years as they visited the classrooms and gave guidance as to what the students should look for in successful investments and strategies for the game, as well as for real life investing. They also reinforced the importance of financial literacy,” added Wilson.
The competition is sponsored by the Maryland Council on Economic Education (MCEE), in which the students at Southern High School participated in the competition, with each team beginning with an imaginary $100,000. Over the 10-week period, the students invested in corporations on the New York, American, and NASDAQ markets in an attempt to increase the value of their portfolios.