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FMS Student Takes State, National Honors In SIFMA Competition

2016 InvestWrite winner - 8

Franklin Middle School student Reynaldo Espinoza, center, took top state honors and placed fourth in the country in the 2015-16 InvestWrite essay competition. With him, left to right, are FMS principal Reginald Davenport, teacher Deborah Gadek, his mother, Julissa Espinoza and his father, Hugo Espinoza.


For the second consecutive year, a Franklin Middle School student has placed first in the state and in the top five nationally in a financial literacy competition.

Reynaldo Espinoza, an 8th Grader at the school, won the honors in the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Foundation’s InvestWrite competition. Espinoza won with an essay about creating an App called “Easy Invest” that would help people make investing decisions.

With his parents, Hugo and Julissa Espinoza, and friends looking on in the school’s library, Espinoza was presented with his awards – certificates and gift cards – for his achievements during an April 8 ceremony.

“I had absolutely no idea that I won,” Espinoza said after the ceremony. He said he thought he was going to the library to be interviewed by a reporter for something else.

Although he’s still quite young, Espinoza said he’d like a career in the financial services industry.

Espinoza’s essay was one of about 3,000 submitted by middle school students across the country. The SIFMA Foundation program “bridges classroom learning in mathematics, social studies, and language arts with the practical research and knowledge required for long-term personal financial planning,” according to a press release about the award.

“InvestWrite enables students like Espinoza to develop the personal financial savvy needed to make practical financial decisions with confidence and gain a deeper understanding of economic opportunities, consequences, and benefits,” according to the release. “Students consider real-world events and news, conduct research online, and develop investment recommendations.”

“Reynaldo’s innovative ideas for an investing App earned him the SIFMA Foundation’s ‘InvestWrite Genius’ title this year,” Melanie Mortimer, president of the SIFMA Foundation, said in the release. “We commend Reynaldo and his teacher, Deborah Gadek, for this achievement. Helping students better understand our economy, our markets, the role of investors, and how to make good investments will pay dividends for the students, their education, and the New Jersey economy.”

2016 InvestWrite winner - 1

What’s a celebration without a cake?

“Reynaldo becomes part of our dream here in America,” Hugo Espinoza said. “When he was a little kid, we always told him if he puts all his effort in, he will be great.”

Last year – the first year the school participated in the program – FMS student Arnav Tolat took first place in the state and fifth in the country.

Gadek said the secret to her students’ success in the essay competition is to let them tell their own stories.

“I let the kids write it themselves,” she said. “They look for a middle schooler’s perspective on the market, so the key is to let the kids write what they see, not to make it an adult-sounding analysis.”

“Reynaldo sounded just like what an 8th Grader would want in an APP,” she said.

Gadek was also honored at the ceremony. She said that next year, the class in which the SIFMA program is used will become an elective.

Gadek and Espinoza will be honored at a SIFMA function later in the spring.

Following is Espinoza’s winning essay:

Apps have facilitated life for many people including myself. They have revolutionized the industry and have made many complex chores easier. They have made it easier to cook, look for a place to eat, or as simple as communicate with other people in ways we never thought possible. But apps have not changed the investment world dramatically. People today still use brokers to help them decide which stocks and mutual funds to buy, but this app promises to change that all.

The app is called Easy Invest. The app is not real, but would change the lives of many investors and revolutionize the way that people trade. The app has many features, which make it more unique and different than any other apps in the market such as “Jstock” and many more. The app would cost $100 to download and then have an option to pay $900 extra for an investment-changing tool. The app would be available on the internet only in use with devices with high degree hardware. When you launch the app it will load to a white clean interface. The app would then greet you in various languages and then go to the home screen. The home screen would include plentiful amounts of information regarding the stocks in your portfolio, including current news and the latest price of the stocks. In the menu there would be four buttons that lead you to different screens. The buttons would be labeled “News, History, Future, and Hot Stocks.”

The first button called “News” would lead you to a screen that would give you the latest breaking news about stocks in your current portfolio. It would also provide earnings reports, new products or services and news about what is happening internally in the companies. This would be a very important tool to have because it gives you the information that you need to either buy more of the stocks in your portfolio or sell them.

The second button, which is called “History,” would lead you to a page that would focus on the past information about the stock such as the 52-week high low, past earnings calendar, and historical prices. The information on the History Page would be important and a possible game changer because past trends, prices and information about a stock would be accessible on a single screen.

The third button would open up a page dedicated to examining the growth of a stock and predicting the possible future of the stock. This button would only be accessible by paying an extra $900. The app would examine the stock by linking the past stock price performance of a stock to product releases and major company events. It would then interface this data with changes in a company’s share volume and net income and the company’s EPS. The app would further analyze current stock price and predict how a company’s new products or services might affect the price of the stock. The person purchasing the app would have the ability to change the types of data analyzed based on different industries and market capitalization of different stocks. This revolutionary app would give traders a “window to the future” by helping predict future performance of a stock.

The last button called “Hot Stocks” would lead you to a page that would tell you the hottest and most talked about stocks by assimilating news from reputable websites, forums, blogs, and top rated investors. It would then categorize the stocks into a top ten buys of the week or month followed by the location(s) of the information used to categorize a particular stock. This would be a great page for new investors who are looking to purchase stocks but are not sure where to start. Not only does it have those features but it also has alerts that can be customized to fit your needs. For example, you can set an alert to notify you when a specific stock or mutual fund rises or lowers. A second alert could inform you that there is breaking news about a particular stock. The choices of alerts are endless and would be dictated by the investor’s needs.

I really could have used this app in the beginning of the year. The price of Microsoft stock was rapidly increasing due to the release of Halo 5 and seemed like it would never go down. For a while, the price stayed steady and then without warning the price dropped. Not a game changing amount but a sizable amount that would hurt my team’s portfolio. If I would have had the app at that moment I would have been able to figure out an approximate time and date to sell it or at least the app would have given me enough information to know that it was likely the price was going to decrease.

This app would be able to change the world and completely revolutionize the way that trading is done. I hope that one day the app might exist and help us all from the dark shallow pit that is stock trading decisions.

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