Ten-year-old Kyle McCauley answered simply when asked what he had learned about stocks and dividends.
"I learned don't put all of your eggs in one basket, because if you have more, one might go up when one goes down," said the fifth grade student at Larchmont Elementary in northwest Toledo.
Kyle and her 15 classmates in Cheryl Reaume's class spent yesterday morning playing a game as part of the annual Accounting For Kids Day sponsored by the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Directed by William Vaughn Co. accountants Abigail Stengel and Ryan Leininger and University of Toledo accounting students Jen Bockrath and Melissa Stanfford, each student received $50 and was able to choose from five imaginary stocks: Purple Light & Power, Blackstone Motor Co., BlueSky Bancorp, Orange Computer, and Red X Biogenics.
The accountants explained that stocks like the light and power and motor companies would pay dividends each year, but a riskier investment like the biogenics firm might ultimately pay a bigger return.
"You want to make as much money as possible," Ms. Stengel explained.
She was one of more than 1,000 CPAs, college accounting students,and other business professionals who visited more than 300 classrooms across the state yesterday, including two classes at Larchmont and five at Grove Patterson Academy in Toledo.
300 classrooms across the state yesterday, including two classes at Larchmont and five at Grove Patterson Academy in Toledo.
McKenzie Sadler and Alex Ligman decided to cover their bases, with McKenzie picking the safest stock, Purple Light & Power, because "it's like picking life insurance," while Alex became the lone student to choose the higher-risk Red X Biogenics.
"We've got one guy who's risky here," Mr. Leininger said.
The students quickly caught on to the game, which consisted of 10 rounds, or years, during which special dice were thrown to determine whether each company gained, lost, or stayed the same.
After each year, stockholders who had dividends were paid that in play money, which quickly added up and got the students even more excited, as did the option after the fifth year of exchanging one stock for another.
Jordan Randall decided to trade his stock for one that had dropped in value so he could have money in his hands. "Hey, Cierra, ch-ching!" the 11-year-old shouted to a classmate as he counted his money from his initial investment.
Asked why he decided to cash in, Jordan shrugged and responded: "Because I wanted to get money now."
Emily Rouse, 11, traded in her initial stock to get the Red X Biogenics and earned Alex's appreciation when her roll increased the stock price. But a later roll brought the price back down, causing her to blame Alex for the bad luck.
In the end, that stock finished at $128, a hefty return for an initial investment of $50. But it was the students with BlueSky Bancorp who had the most money, thanks to a 4-for-1 stock split.
If this year's class stays true to form, some of its members will embrace what they learned, said Ms. Reaume.
"It's something new for them and it sparks an interest in some of them to start following the stock market," she said.
William Vaughn's Ms. Stengel said he hoped the day would get the students thinking about savings options. "When they grow up, they're going to have decisions to make about where they want to put their money."
Contact Mary-Beth McLaughlin at