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Over 90% of our graduates complete high school within four years, in a city with an on-time high school graduation rate that hovers around 65%.

Stock market savvy empowers students.

“Residents in the inner-city are not as involved in the stock market,” Gesu trustee Paul Welch explains to the library full of 8th graders. “As you grow, you can help others learn about it. It’s about giving back—helping the community and your neighbors.” 

This year, Welch, a senior research analyst and partner at PENN Capital Management, brought a variation of a Chicago-based school investment education program to Gesu. In November, Gesu’s 8th grade students began with a $2,000 investment. Each “investor” selected a stock of interest to them with the goal of making money as a class gift to Gesu School. Over the course of the project, Welch tracked the simulated performance of the students’ portfolio, and taught the students ins and outs of investing.

At the end of May the students learned that their portfolio earned a 14.2% rate of return for a grand total of $2,285 to be donated by Welch. In honor of the students’ work, PENN Capital Management is donating an additional $3,000 to the school.

The class and the topic captivated the students. “It’s preparing me for when I get into the real world,” asserts 8th grader Sahara. Her classmate Monique was proud to learn that H&R Block, the stock she had chosen for the portfolio, finished with a 57% rate of return despite low expectations for its performance among her fellow students. “Everyone can do this. Listen to yourself,” Welch told the class.