HARRISONBURG — When Emma Goehner, a 10th-grader at Blue Ridge Christian High School in Dayton, submitted an essay on Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, she thought she was just turning in a class assignment.
The topic of the essay was to write about an entrepreneur she admired. Emma chose Walton because her grandfather knew him personally and she liked that his business model was customer focused and driven, she said.
Her teacher submitted the essay to the Virginia Council of Economic Education as part of their annual Stock Market Game and Invest Write competition. Each year the council invites high school students to compete in two related but different skills tests related to economics.
The first is the Stock Market Game. At the beginning of the school year, students are given a hypothetical $10,000 and they have to go through the motions of investing it. They have to buy and sell stocks, and take into account fees, etc., according to Emma’s father, Chris.
While the Virginia Council of Economic Education hosts the contest at the state level, it is nationwide.
The other side of that is the essay contest. Emma’s essay garnered her first place in the high school division for all of Virginia.
On Friday, Emma and her father traveled to Richmond for a luncheon and to accept the award. The event was held on the 23rd floor of the Federal Reserve building.
“They did a nice job of treating recipients to a nice lunch,” Goehner said. “Everyone was professional dressed and there were a lot of distinguished attendants.”
Emma will also be honored at James Madison University on Thursday, where all of the regional recipients will be recognized.
Emma said she was shocked and not initially excited when she found out she won the state competition, only because she had no idea she was being entered.
“It was not something I was striving to do,” Emma said. “I just didn’t know.”
The Virginia Council for Economic Education is a nonprofit organization operating in Virginia since 1970.
Its mission is to provide Virginia’s K-12 students with the economic knowledge and financial skills needed to thrive in a dynamic economy.