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Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School Starts Investment Club to Teach Students the Value of Saving for the Future

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Joe May, a history teacher at Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, started an investment club at the school to teach students about the stock market and how to make wise spending decisions. 
 Joe May, a history teacher at Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, started an investment club at the school to teach students about the stock market and how to make wise spending decisions. 
Joe May, a history teacher at Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, started an investment club at the school to teach students about the stock market and how to make wise spending decisions.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— Thanks to a club begun by Holy Family Cristo Rey history teacher Joe May, students are learning how to invest in the stock market, and getting valuable advice from Birmingham businessmen Keith Carter and Etchridge Means.
Carter, a vice president of Securities Capital Corp., and Means, an entrepreneur and owner of EMC Enterprises, help May teach the students basic principles of investing and money management.
The Holy Family Cristo Rey Investment Club began with a conversation May, Carter, and Means had last fall about how to address the generational poverty and social depression that many urban families face in Birmingham.
“We decided we should combine our collective talents and abilities, and equip our students with the skills and wherewithal to be fiscally responsible,” May said.
Sidney Moore, principal at Holy Family and a veteran educator in Birmingham, said he was thrilled when May approached him with the idea for the investment club. Many students aren’t taught the importance of saving or investing for the future through stocks, he said.
“Unfortunately, in today’s society, many of our kids and adults are consumers, not savers,” Moore said. “My hope is that some great entrepreneurs will come out of this investment club.”
The Holy Family Cristo Rey Investment Club is participating in The Stock Market Game, a program of the Alabama Council on Economic Education, which provides economic and financial training programs for teachers and students in grades K-12. This is Holy Family Cristo Rey’s first time participating.
The Stock Market Game is played online, and features groups of 3 to 5 students. Each group is given $100,000 to invest in stocks and mutual funds, and must make investment decisions based on their own research. The investors compete against students across the nation.
“It is as real as it gets,” May said. “The kids are taking it seriously and learning a lot. They even have an app they can download on their phones to keep up with their stocks.”
May said his parents, a lawyer and former Bessemer mayor and a schoolteacher, taught their kids the importance of making sound financial decisions. May hopes the investment club will impart the same lessons to Holy Family Cristo Rey students.
“Our overall objective is to teach our students the benefits of short and long-term investing, and to combat the effects of generational poverty,” May said.
With his student teams comprised mostly of sophomores, May is focused on learning, rather than winning.  “Our focus now is on changing the mind-set of our students when it comes to investing and spending their money,” May said. “The Stock Market Game is one of many ways Holy Family prepares students for the future.”
Holy Family Cristo Rey’s unique work-study program allows students aged 14 and up to offset much of their tuition by working in more than 85 businesses across metro Birmingham one day a week. Since affiliating with the Chicago-based Cristo Rey Network in 2007, 100 percent of the school’s seniors have graduated and been accepted into college.
Located at 2001 19th Street Ensley, Holy Family Cristo Rey is currently accepting applications for the 2014-15 school year. The application deadline is Friday, March 21, 2014. For details, call Beverly Dixon, Director of Admissions, at (205) 263-0133, email bdixon@hfcristorey.org, or go to www.hfcristorey.org. Follow the school on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube