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updated: 2/20/2014 5:01 PM

Naperville fifth-grader wins national essay contest

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  • Katherine Smirnov, 10, displays the medal she received Thursday for winning the elementary division of the fall 2013 InvestWrite essay contest for her piece recommending Boeing and Microsoft as sound long-term investments. Katherine attends Naperville's Fry Elementary School in Indian Prairie Unit District 204 and wrote the essay as part of a class taught by Sharon Phares.

       Katherine Smirnov, 10, displays the medal she received Thursday for winning the elementary division of the fall 2013 InvestWrite essay contest for her piece recommending Boeing and Microsoft as sound long-term investments. Katherine attends Naperville's Fry Elementary School in Indian Prairie Unit District 204 and wrote the essay as part of a class taught by Sharon Phares.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Fry Elementary School fifth-grader Katherine Smirnov awaits the name of the winner of the elementary category of the national InvestWrite essay contest to be announced during an assembly Thursday at the Naperville school. Katherine was named the winner for her essay discussing Boeing and Microsoft and recommending both as sound long-term investments.

       Fry Elementary School fifth-grader Katherine Smirnov awaits the name of the winner of the elementary category of the national InvestWrite essay contest to be announced during an assembly Thursday at the Naperville school. Katherine was named the winner for her essay discussing Boeing and Microsoft and recommending both as sound long-term investments.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

 
 

A Naperville fifth-grader became an award-winning investment analyst Thursday as she learned she won a national contest that challenges students to study stock options and make financially sound recommendations.

Katherine Smirnov, a 10-year-old who attends Fry Elementary in Indian Prairie Unit District 204, was surprised during an all-school assembly with the news she won the fall 2013 elementary division of the InvestWrite essay competition.

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"This is a big award for me because I got recognized for writing a really good essay," Katherine said.

In her essay, she discussed Boeing and Microsoft and recommended both companies as good long-term investments.

Katherine wrote the essay as part of a class taught by Sharon Phares, who teaches in the school's gifted program. She is one of 20,000 students in fourth through 12th grades who enter the InvestWrite contest each year.

The essay contest is the culmination of the Stock Market Game, in which students work in groups studying real-world data in an effort to grow a stock portfolio that starts with $100,000. Both programs are run by the SIFMA Foundation, which works to promote education toward financial literacy.

• Daily Herald photographer Paul Michna contributed to this report

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