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RIVER HILLS - What’s the secret to success in the stock market?

Just ask University School of Milwaukee seventh-graders Lexi Lee and Xavier Barth. The duo took first place in the Wisconsin Stock Market Simulation, a statewide competition conducted by EconomicsWisconsin, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes economic education and financial literacy.

Not only did Barth and Lee win their middle school division, they also won the overall competition — the first time ever for USM — beating high school teams from around the state.

“Starting out, our main focus was investing in what we knew and liked, which included companies like Apple, Netflix, Starbucks and Hasbro,” said Lee, a Bayside resident.

“Right after the election, we were looking around at what stocks were doing well," added Barth, a Milwaukee resident. "We discovered that four of the 10 most actively traded stocks were for dry shipping container companies. Given (President) Trump’s view on business and trade, we were expecting good results, and we got them.”

Lee and Barth took first place with a final value of $280,503.66, out-earning the second-place high school team by $100,905.89. All teams start the competition with $100,000.

“In my 18 years of doing this simulation at USM, we’ve never had a team be in overall first place for even one day, and this team was in first for a whole month,” said Brian Markwald, seventh-grade social studies teacher and grades 7-8 dean of students. “I like doing the simulation because it teaches students how hard it is to pick stocks on their own. It also gives them a chance to see how world events affect the global economy.”

As first-place winners, Lee and Barth were honored at a banquet March 8 at United Community Center. They left March 9 on a paid trip to New York City, where they will tour the New York Stock Exchange and take in a Broadway play, among other activities.

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