Teacher Cindy Beckman, of Conway, helped a Conway High School team of student investors — Adam Freyaldhoven, Adil Khetani, Lane Phillips and Kyle Ward — place first in their region and division during the Stock Market Game this past fall. The team is among 36 winning statewide teams recognized Jan. 9 at the awards lunch at Verizon Arena, said Elisha Poteet, program assistant with Economics Arkansas.

Beckman was also recognized in the category of Overall Advisor, according to a news release from Economics Arkansas.

About 118 young investors in grades fourth through 12th were honored for their efforts to grow hypothetical stock portfolios, according to a news release. The students represented the first- and second-place winners of the fall 2012 session of the Stock Market Game TM, a student investment competition.

The luncheon was hosted by Economics Arkansas, a nonprofit educational organization that trains educators to teach economics to Arkansas students in kindergarten through 12th grades. The Conway team did well enough to earn Beckman the Apple Award and $1,000 for the highest statewide portfolio value of $123,720.63, Poteet said in email.

More than 4,000 Arkansas students participated in the fall 2012 session of the game, according to the release. Economics Arkansas has had the license to operate the Stock Market Game in Arkansas since 1999 and annual participation has grown to nearly 10,000 students.

The Stock Market Game is offered nationwide through the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) each fall and spring semester as a 10-week investment simulation and competition. Teams of students manage virtual $100,000 stock portfolios and compete in divisions based on age. Those are: elementary grades four through six, junior high grades seven through nine or senior high division grades 10-12.

Teams also compete in one of the state’s six regions connected to a university economics center area. The object is for each team to grow its investment portfolio while competing with other students in the region and statewide, according to the news release.

Teachers, such as Beckman, act as advisors who assist each team by inviting investment professionals to speak in the classroom, teaching their students to learn "how" to research and to become aware of current events that affect the market. The teams with the highest total equity at the end of each 10-week session in each division and region are recognized at the awards luncheon.

The winners receive cash, medals and commemorative T-shirts.

"All of the students who participated in this program will have an advantage later in life," said Marsha Masters, Economics Arkansas program coordinator, in the release. "The Stock Market Game program will help them as they become adults facing true investment decisions. Economic literacy is life changing, so a special thank you to all the teachers who are integrating this program into the classroom."