Saturday, April 27, 2013

Upper Saddle River's Suhita Kodali honored at surprise ceremony

When Upper Saddle River eighth-grader Sri Sai Suhita Kodali walked into Cavallini Middle School on March 8, she didn’t imagine school officials and her parents would surprise her a few hours later with a trophy and certificate naming her the New Jersey first place winner and sixth place national winner in an essay writing contest that encourages financial literacy.

The annual writing contest, InvestWrite, is through the SIFMA Foundation, a non-profit working with students nationwide to learn about finances, business and the economy.
Kodali and other students in teacher Linda Vandenbree’s class have been involved with the foundation’s Stock Market Game, which is an online simulation of the global capital markets, and encourages students to look at personal finance and investing.

"InvestWrite and the Stock Market Game program require students like SriSaiSuhita to monitor daily global market activity, business trends, and economic factors that drive investments to determine the growth potential of industries, companies, asset classes and specific stocks, bonds, and mutual funds," said Melanie Mortimer, executive director of the SIFMA Foundation, in a press release. "They are asked to make sophisticated, thoughtful recommendations that reflect what is expected of college and career-ready students."

Kodali was chosen as the winner based on teachers and industry professionals acting as judges who analyzed asset allocation, investment potential of publicly traded stocks and the students’ overall understanding of the stock market and how the idea is presented.

There was a special presentation on March 8 headed by Nancy Kahn, development and event director for the SIFMA Foundation, announcing Kodali as the winner of the middle school division of the Fall 2012 competition, adding that she is among 20,000 students each year to take the challenge.

For the contest, students were asked to take on the role of a business reporter and announce a news-breaking event and how it would affect a company’s bond or stock.

Kodali, taking on the role of a Wall Street Journal reporter, wrote on the anticipated success of Immersion Corporation releasing its Haptics technology patent to several smartphone manufacturers. Kodali said that as companies can purchase the rights to the technology, "Immersion’s revenue would grow, eventually helping the company and its value," she wrote in her essay.

Principal James McCusker said this "speaks to the language arts program district-wide and the efforts of [Linda Vandenbree] to get students to invest and write."
Kodali’s parents said the event was a surprise to them as well, but they are thrilled their daughter was recognized. Her father, Madhu Kodali, said his daughter is interested in finance and is also the editor of the school newspaper.
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