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Junior Achievement of WNY Announces Winners of Fall Virtual Stock Market Challenge

News Release
January 3, 2023

For more information:
Alycia Ivancie
Program Director
716-853-1381, ext. 215

Junior Achievement of WNY Announces Winners of Fall Virtual Stock Market Challenge

(Buffalo, NY) During the month of November, 564 WNY students participated in a lively, month long competition of trading through their participation in the Junior Achievement Virtual Stock Market Challenge. Students represented twenty schools from across WNY and competed to take top prize

Prior to the JA Stock Market Challenge, JA provides their JA Take Stock in Your Future curriculum to introduce students to basic concepts about how the market works and the impact of current events. The curriculum also includes a series of self-guided extension activities for students to engage in deeper learning about the stock market and investing.

Wells Fargo is the Presenting sponsor of this unique and interactive JA learning experience, with one competition held in November 2022 and another session in April 2023.

The competition was held online and allowed students to experience the real-life stock market in a simulated environment. Students chose to compete as individuals or as teams. Participants began with a $25,000 starting portfolio and were encouraged to make transactions throughout the month. Leaderboards were dynamic and shared weekly using the hashtag #JAWNYStockMarketChallenge.

At the close of competition, Junior Achievement (JAWNY) is pleased to recognize our top three winners. Taking 1st place was Collin Norlander from Falconer High School, in 2nd place is Cole Rhodus from Pioneer High School and in 3rd place is Jaan Akter from Niagara Falls High School.            

Cole Rhodus said, “I had a fantastic experience with the stock market game through my class and I believe that my peers did as well. We were always talking about, competing, and having fun with each other while learning about real life experiences. Going into the game, my strategy was to buy safer stocks at the beginning, grow wealth slightly, and then near the end buy more risky stocks to really push me along in hopes for more growth. I believe that this will benefit me as well as many of my peers in several ways including the ability to trade stocks, make more informed decisions, and most of all give a great background and understanding of the stock market and how it works now that we have been given an opportunity to interact with the activity.”

Rounding out the Top 10 rankings are:

4th place: Mario Camillo, St. Francis High School
5th place: Jake Phillips, Batavia High School
6th place: Greg Robinson, Niagara Falls High School
7th place: Moshin Ali, Amherst High School
8th place: Michael Cerrillo, St. Francis High School
9th place: Dominic Capatosto, Niagara Falls High School
10th place: Jacob Elmore, LeRoy High School

Students who placed in the top ten all received prizes, including Visa gift cards courtesy of West Herr Automotive Group, Perry’s Ice Cream prize packs, Tops Friendly Markets gift cards, Amazon gift cards, Tully’s Good Times Restaurant & Mighty Taco gift certificates.

Participating Schools:

Erie County: Alden High School, Amherst High School, Clarence High School, Depew High School, Eden High School, Emerson School of Hospitality, Grand Island High School, Hamburg High School, International Prep High School, Pembroke High School, Pioneer High School, St. Francis High School, St. Mary’s High School, Tonawanda High School

Niagara County: Lockport High School, Niagara Falls High School.

Genesee County: Alexander High School, Batavia High School, LeRoy High School

Chautauqua County: Falconer High School, Jamestown High School.

This program is not possible without support from our Sponsors:  Wells Fargo, Presenting Sponsor; additional support from: BankOnBuffalo; Delta Air Lines; The Lenna Foundation; HSBC Bank; Bryant & Stratton College; Tops Friendly Markets; Perry’s Ice Cream; Zgoda and Associates CPAs; PwC; Reid Family Foundation.; Deloitte; Evans Bank; KPMG LLP; Lawley; Linde; Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP; National Fuel; Phillips Lytle LLP; SEFCU; Seneca Foods Foundation; WSF Industries, Inc.; West Herr Automotive Group; Assured Partners Buffalo; L&M Wealth Management; Financial Trust Federal Credit Union, Freed Maxick CPAs; Gramkee Financial Consulting, KeyBank N.A.; Lakelet Capital LLC; Northwest Bank; Stahlka Agency; and TriMain Development.

Proceeds from the JA Virtual Stock Market Challenge support Junior Achievement’s financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and career & work-readiness pathway programs for kindergarten-12th grade students. For more information about Junior Achievement programs, visit

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