Franklin Middle Schooler Wins State, National Awards In SIFMA Stock Market Game

Arnav wins prize1

Arnav Tolat, an 8th Grader at Franklin Middle School, won first place in New Jersey and 5th place nationally in a stock market essay contest.

Arnav Tolat got a pretty big surprise March 4 when he walked into the Franklin Middle School library.

Waiting for the 8th Grader were a number of his classmates, teachers and school and district administrators,  all of whom gathered to congratulate Tolat on wining two major awards in the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Foundation’s InvestWrite competition.

Tolat took first place among all New Jersey middle schoolers, and 5th place nationally among middle schoolers.

Tolat’s entry was among about 2,000 reviewed by judges, said Esi Gillow of the Sifma Foundation.

What earned him those prizes was an essay he wrote about NXP Semiconductor, a Dutch semiconductor manufacturer. In the essay, Tolat explained why he chose to write about that company and what he thought made it special.

The competition is open to students in grades 4 to 12. This is the first year Franklin Middle School has had an entry, said Deborah Gadek, Tolat’s teacher.

Tolat said he had no idea that he’d won.

“I was really surprised when I won this award,” he said. “I enjoyed the stock market game.”

Students were given $100,000 in virtual money with which to create stock portfolios. The students then picked one stock out of their portfolios about which to write the essay.

Gillow said more than 8,000 students submitted essays to be judged.

Tolat said he chose his company because he liked it, and also because of the impact it had in his family.

The company manufactures a product used in a hearing aid that is used by his grandmother, Tolat said.

“I saw that it was a very good company and had good performance, and when the two elements combined, it was a good stock to write about,” he said.

Arnav wins prize3

Amber Tolat, left, speaks with his son, Arnav, during the award ceremony.

Amber Tolat, Arnov’s father, said his family was “very proud” of the accomplishment.

“He pretty much did everything on his own,” Tolat said. “I didn’t even know he was writing an essay.”

“I think this is the biggest day in his life so far,” Tolat said. “It’s a great day.”

Gadek said she thought she was more excited than her pupil when she heard he had won.

“”You don’t think you’re going to win the first time out,” she said. “But Arnov is very diligent, very hard-working. He really engages and pushes himself to get to that higher level of thinking.”


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