A Rockwood brother and sister duo has won state and national prizes in an InvestWrite essay contest.
Michelle Serrano, a Rockwood South Middle eighth-grade student, won second place in the InvestWrite national middle school division and first place in the InvestWrite Missouri middle school division.
Her brother, Michael Serrano, a Rockwood Summit High 10th-grade student, won first place in the InvestWrite Missouri high school division.
InvestWrite is a national writing competition sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). It is offered exclusively to teachers and students participating in the Stock Market Game.
During an assembly at Rockwood South, Michelle was surprised with the news in front of her parents, teachers and classmates. Michelle's classmates cheered and applauded as she headed down from the bleachers with a big smile to accept her medal, trophy, certificate and a new laptop computer.
"I was extremely surprised and really happy," said Michelle. "A lot of people in the nation competed in this contest."
"Michelle's dream was to be involved in artificial intelligence and quantum computing," said teacher Alexandra Forgerson. "Every investment that she proposed was something furthering technology, supporting the environment and supporting women in science and technology. All of her investments were aligned with her dream and where she wants to see the world in 10 years."
"We are super proud," said Michelle and Michael's mother, Elaine Yang. "As parents, we are very humbled. Michelle is an outstanding student and enjoys school."
The siblings' parents also surprised Michael at school with the announcement, along with Summit teachers and administrators.
"I wasn't expecting this, but I'm very happy with this announcement," said Michael. "I wrote about how I wanted to start a company to help school curriculum. I had to write an investment portfolio to show how I would manage stocks for any potential investors."
"This is a culminating activity we do each year," said Forgerson. "They write an essay based on their experience throughout the investing competition. This year's prompt was about a dream, and what dream you have. Michael's dream is really salient to Rockwood. He wants to help people feel more love towards math and make a nonprofit website where teachers could find interactive ways to incorporate math in the classroom. He wanted to curate high-level math activities that were free for teachers."
"When Michael took the class in eighth grade in Mrs. Forgerson's class, he put a lot of effort into it and read a lot of books about investing," said Dr. Miguel Serrano, Michael and Michelle's father. "He followed the stock market and now he has won this award."