U.S. stocks may have had a rough run of things on April 28, but for the high school students participating in Trading Day 2017 at Stevens Institute of Technology, the market’s performance only added to the day’s excitement. 

Students from 22 high schools in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut used the high-tech finance labs housed within the School of Business to grow virtual portfolios of $1 million during a real-time trading competition. Students used live data from Bloomberg and CNBC to make trades and react to fast-changing market conditions through software provided by TD Ameritrade, which sponsored the event. 

On a day when only four teams managed to turn a profit, it was Bergen County Technical High School, in Teterboro, that finished atop the heap. But advisor Norina Sfeir said her team kept her in the dark when it came to preparation. 

“They’re so brilliant and strong-minded that they wanted to show me they could win this without my help — because before I became a teacher, I was a trader for 20 years,” she said. “They kept it hidden from me.”

So while their winning strategy remains a secret, each member of the Bergen Tech team has been studying strategic asset management since their freshman year, “where they learn about the kinds of things the stock market responds to, and they learn a basic set of technical tools that allows them to do some of the things students do at Stevens,” Sfeir said. 

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