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Everyone’s Investing in Wreckers Wealth Management

Alex Gaines ’25
Wreckers Wealth Management team members Andrew Rebello ’25, Alex Sod ’25, Srish Popuri ’25 and Mack Haymond ’25 pose with their second place awards from the Wharton Global High School Investment Competition.

When Alex Sod ’25, president of the Staples High Investment and Trading Society, eagerly asked one of his teachers to advise his newly-created club, he was shocked by the response he received.

“He said, ‘No, I’m not helping you with a fake club,’” Sod explained. “He said, verbatim, ‘a fake club, Alex? You’re better than that.’”

Later, against all odds, Sod came back to share an update with the teacher. 

 “And then I shoved it in his face the moment we got into the semi-finals,” Sod said. “When we got second place, we put the trophies in his office, as a reminder of how ‘fake’ the club is.”

Sod’s team of him and six other Staples juniors won second place out of upwards of 5,000 teams in the ​​annual Wharton Global High School Investment Competition. The huge pool of international teams was then narrowed down to 50 semifinalists, and, subsequently, 11 finalists that competed in person on the Wharton Business School campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is the second year of the team’s existence, but the first they’ve ever made it past the first round of finalists.

“It was not a club last year,” Sod said. “It was something that was, to put it quite frankly, a little unserious.”

This year, though, the Staples High Investment Trading Society was made an official Staples club. 

“We were able to get in front of a lot of faces at club rush. It kind of added a sense of seriousness,” Sod said. 

The Wharton Global Youth Program’s annual Investment Competition allows teams of high schoolers to participate in a stock investment simulator, as each respective “company” attempts to cater to a specific client’s investment needs. This year, the client case study was that of Hilary Ash, a women’s sports enthusiast with dreams of renovating her South American property through real estate investment. The teams began with a budget of $100,000 to manage an investment portfolio to provide the most returns for Ash that were relevant to her specific financial goals.

“99% of investing competitions out there are based on ‘how much of a return can you make?’ So this competition is very different,” club CFO Andrew Rebello ’25 said. “It focuses on the investment strategy. You can throw everything into one stock and make the biggest returns, but that’s not a good long term strategy for a real person.”

The team realized that many other groups’ strategies revolved around doing whatever it took to make the most money. With their new strategy of investing in stocks relating to the interests of the case study in tow, the team was ready to start investing. 

99% of investing competitions out there are based on ‘how much of a return can you make?’ So this competition is very different. It focuses on the investment strategy. You can throw everything into one stock and make the biggest returns, but that’s not a good long term strategy for a real person.

— Wreckers Wealth Management CFO Andrew Rebello

Staples’ team titled their company “Wreckers Wealth Management” in their proposal and began to prepare at the beginning of the school year for trading to start on Sept. 25.

“We work together really well,” club COO Srish Popuri ’25 said. “We were able to stay relatively organized, and we communicated strongly enough.”

The seven students decided to divide and conquer different investment sectors to keep an equal distribution of research during the trading process from September to December. Team member Mack Haymond ’25, for example, kept track of possible financial technology-related stocks to invest in for Ash. 

“We built [our strategy] choosing stocks for her and not just choosing stocks based on an algorithm,” Haymond said. “We wanted it to be choosing a stock that has the right social initiatives, that was doing the right things that our client would have wanted. After that, we made sure that the financials lined up. It was personal first.”

For two full months, the team met over a video call every Monday and Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

“I pregamed every single meeting to the investment club by listening to either ‘Money Money Money’ by ABBA or the ‘Succession’ theme song,” Sod said. 

Eventually, the team, along with their parents, made it to Wharton’s campus for the final, in-person competition. Along with a panel of judges, Ash – the real person from their case study – listened in to each of the 11 teams’ 10-minute speeches.

“Let us invest,” Sod says, ending the team’s presentation. “Not just in financial assets, but in a future where goals are not just dreamed of, but scored.” He mimics a soccer ball kick, and the crowd of international students and parents erupts in laughs and cheers.

As the winners were announced, the team began to worry; Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology was announced as the third place spot, meaning that Wreckers Wealth Management was either in the top two or didn’t place at all. 

“Second place, I was like ‘okay, we have a chance, we have a chance,’ because you just have that hope, right?” Rebello said. “But basically, once he […] finished ‘Staples’ halfway, we all just went ham. Pure happiness.”

Some team members, however, weren’t as hopeful going into the results ceremony.

“When I heard ‘third place, Thomas Jefferson High School,’ […] Andrew was excited, I was absolutely crushed.” Sod said. “Because I thought there was absolutely no shot we were going to do better. When they said ‘second place, Staples High School,’ I think I’ve never yelled more expletives in Spanish.”

Wreckers Wealth Management is the first team from a public, non-magnet school to become the first runner-up in the history of the competition.

“There are a lot of things that we’re better prepared for next year,” Rebello said. “When you start from scratch, you have to fail, and your hope is that you fail fast and pick yourself back up […] Obviously we’re going for first place next year. I think we’ve learned from past mistakes.”

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Rachel Olefson '25
Rachel Olefson '25, Web News Editor
Web News Editor Rachel Olefson ’25 strives to build skills. From the age of two, Olefson has skied to improve and enjoy quality family time.  “[The mountain] is a place I can kind of do whatever I want,” Olefson said. “It gets me away from the stress of school.”  In the classroom, Olefson remains eager to grow. For her, Inklings is a collaborative space to strengthen her writing and graphic design expertise.    “You get to meet people that maybe you wouldn't be friends with otherwise,” Olefson said, “and work with people who have a lot of different strengths.”
Alex Gaines ’25
Alex Gaines ’25, Creative Director
Creative Director Alex Gaines ’25 is no stranger to the newsroom. Gaines became intrigued by journalism at Ursus, where she was in awe at the complex layouts Inklings produced. “I used to always compare our papers to the Inklings papers,” Gaines said. “I remember being intrigued by the layouts, which I think drew me to the creative director position.” Though being creative director is a full time job, Gaines still finds time to pursue her other ambitions. “I took a class at UCLA on marketing,” Gaines said. “It was super interesting because I definitely want to pursue something in business.”  

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