When Buckley Country Day School fifth-grader and Roslyn resident Tyler Deng wrote his essay for the 2019-20 National InvestWrite Competition this past fall, he chose a topic that was very important to him. He pitched virtual investors for a capital investment to seed his dream of advancing education by building 100 schools in the Hubei Province of China—his family’s hometown. Deng recently found out that his writing had made an impact.
In front of the entire student body, faculty and his parents, Melanie Mortimer, president of the SIFMA Foundation, presented Deng with the first-place trophy for New York State in the elementary division. The audience applauded and shouted Deng’s name, as the 10-year-old headed to the front of the room with a big smile to accept his trophy. However, after the applause died down and the photos were taken, Mortimer had one more announcement.
“So I have another surprise, actually, an extra surprise,” Mortimer told the assembly. “I think it’s important that all of you know that not only did Tyler win as the New York State first-place winner, he’s also the first-place winner in the entire country.”
With that, the room erupted into even louder applause and gave Deng a well-deserved standing ovation.
“We could not be prouder of Tyler’s huge accomplishment on winning first place in the national InvestWrite essay competition,” Buckley history teacher Patricia Russac, who was also honored as Deng’s teacher, said. “His essay brings together all the different components used to play the Stock Market Game from diversification to asset classes to help students solidify their understanding of financial markets and investing.”
InvestWrite is a national essay competition that bridges classroom learning in math, social studies and language arts with the practical research and knowledge required for saving, investing and long-term planning. The competition serves as a culminating activity for participants in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game program. Essays are judged by thousands of financial professionals who volunteer their time each year to ensure young people are exposed to the essentials of personal finance early in life.
Deng pitched a $3.5 million dollar investment plan to fund his dream of increasing access to education in underserved areas, and now he’s being recognized nationally. From P/E ratios and Betas to fixed income and growth stocks, Deng’s broad knowledge of investing enabled this impressive fifth-grader to beat out thousands of students competing nationwide.
“Financial responsibilities are a given in life, but financial education is not,” Mortimer said. “That doesn’t add up for this country’s 57 million students like Deng who are expected to compete in a global economy and manage their retirement. We must reduce barriers for teachers to bring financial education into the classroom and provide real-world educational experiences that prepare students for financial independence, economic mobility and the workforce.”
—Submitted by Buckley Country Day School