MASD Challenge Students Featured in YouTube Troutwood Live!

challenge program

Mrs. Sharon Gaitens and her Challenge Students in grades 1-5 have partnered with Mr. Gene Natali, CEO of Troutwood and award-winning author of "The Missing Semester" to increase financial literacy among her students.

Troutwood is a financial technology company based in Pittsburgh founded out of Carnegie Mellon University’s Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship.  Mrs. Gaitens initially invited Mr. Natali to be a Presenter as part of the MASD K-5 Challenge Program Guest Speaker series as part of her lessons on the Stock Market and S&P 500 Companies.

“My students have become fluent in understanding the short and long-term performance of stocks, identifying ticker symbols, and creating power point presentations highlighting companies on the Dow Jones and S&P 500,” explained Mrs. Gaitens.     

This partnership developed into the MASD Challenge Students being recognized as the “Super-Users” of Troutwood’s website and “an exceptional group,” as students researched companies and presented their financial information.

Additionally, Mrs. Gaitens and five of the Challenge Students were Guest Hosts of an episode of Troutwood LIVE.  Troutwood LIVE is a financial education weekly series that is livestreamed on YouTube.  Every Wednesday from 12-12:30, the MASD Challenge Students attend a Lunch and Learn Money Basics series where a Representative from one of the S&P500 Companies is invited to speak to hundreds of students in the surrounding area. 

Ainsley Lucci (Hyde, Grade 4), Landin Luster (Hyde, Grade 3), Abigail Pieczynski (Brooks, Grade 4), Rocco Reilsono (MS, Grade 5), and Will Udon (McCormick, Grade 3) asked live questions of the BNY Mellon Representative that were poignant and well-prepared.

Mr. Natali has invited the students in Mrs. Gaitens’ Challenge Program to be featured each week and propose questions to the Speakers due to the in-depth knowledge they have on the Stock Market from the lessons learned in class.


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