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Proviso West ELL Students Get Lessons in Business

March 7, 2014 01:40 PM
Students in Ms. Karen Sassetti’s English Language Learners (ELL) class at Proviso West High School have been learning this year that being successful in business and life is about having a plan.

The lesson has been driven home throughout the year by their participation in Econ Illinois’ Stock Market Game, in which teams of students create stock portfolios. The lesson also was repeated by state Senator Kimberly Lightford, who visited the class on February 28 to talk about her experiences as the youngest African-American woman ever elected to the Illinois Senate.

"I want to encourage you to take this lesson that your teacher is giving you and run with it," Sen. Lightford said to the class. "If you start now with self-confidence, it will take you far."

w-klightford2-380In the stock market contest, students are given $100,000 in virtual money to "invest" in the stock market. The students then do their research on the companies in which to invest, learning about the companies, their histories, and their founders. Companies that the students chose ranged from Nike and Target to McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.

In recent years, Ms. Sassetti’s students have done well in the game. Currently, Proviso West student teams are in second, third, and 15th places among 225 teams from suburban Chicago schools.

"We studied how the stock market works for real," Ms. Sassetti said. "Our students do so well because they get it. My students are learning a lifelong skill."

w-klightford3-380Sen. Lightford highlighted successful people such as Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who became a successful entrepreneur after he retired from professional basketball; Robert Johnson, who was one of the founders of Johnson and Johnson; and President Barack Obama, with whom she served in the Illinois Senate for six years.

"You don’t know who your peers are going to be," Sen. Lightford said of President Obama. "You can be. You can do. One of you will replace me in the Illinois Senate."

Mr. Oscar Hawthorne, principal at Proviso West, said that creative lessons and knowing of others who have succeeded can motivate students to do well.

"Learning something that can turn into a lifelong skill and knowing of those who have done well can do much in inspiring students to seek to do well themselves," he said. "I commend the students for the work they have done and Ms. Sassetti for continuing to find ways to inspire them, including inviting Sen. Kimberly Lightford to speak to her class."


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