Investment Club: An Interview with Graham Sorg

Investment Club: An Interview with Graham Sorg

Ali Zimmerman, Contributor '26

The Investment Club at Country Day has been achieving special things all year long. Each member learned how to invest real money and be smart when dealing with finances in real life. To fully understand what the Investment Club does, I spoke with club leader, senior Graham Sorg.

Interviewer: “What is the main focus of Investment Club? What do you do, what are your goals, etc.”

Graham: “Our main focus is to inform and educate our members on financial literacy and personal finance while having fun. We teach through interactive lessons where for example, we’ve examined income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements and have had members calculate assets, liabilities, and net worth then we have an open discussion at the end, tie everything together, and answer any questions that arise.

In the first semester, we used an online paper trading game called the Investopedia stock simulator. All our members made online accounts and started off with $100,000 dollars of imaginary money and although it wasn’t real money, the stock simulator was set up to mimic the market real time. The value of every stock, ETF, call, put, or short someone executed would rise and fall as the real market would. The game started on September 26, 2022 and ended on March 1, 2023. TOP 5 FINISHERS: Yosin Abdullozoda finished in first place with an ending account value of 483818.87, Daniel Sgro Plaut finished in second place with an ending account value of 178990.75, Kevin (Kewei) Yang finished in third place with an ending account value of 128170.52, Wilson Bagnoli finished in fourth place with an ending account value of 120921, and Graham Sorg finished in fifth place with an ending account value of 120805.02.

We received a generous $15,000 donation from Ben Stacy and George Vredeveld who are currently our financial advisors who attend every meeting, assist in teaching the lessons, answer questions, and forward us any market research reports that we request.

In the second semester, we pivoted from the stock simulator game to REAL investing with REAL money. We are currently laying the groundwork for an investment fund that will grow for many years to come, fund many school projects and clubs in the future, and will be around for my kids if they end up going to Country Day. This fund has a long-term investment horizon meaning that we have a lower risk tolerance and are looking 10-15-20 years into the future with what we want to invest in. As part of our organization, we have four sector teams who each manage their own respective sector and conduct research and curate their own investment thesis to propose to the club as to why a certain stock or ETF from their sector should be part of the fund.

Overall, this fund is so unique and few schools have something anywhere close to it. It sets Country Day apart from other schools around the world. Our goal is to 1) have fun, 2) become financially literate and learn about personal finance, 3) become better investors, and 4) by building a strong foundation for the fund, we hope to maximize returns and give back to the Country Day community in the future.”

Interviewer: “How many people are involved? Including teacher advisors, people from each grade level.”

Graham: “We have two faculty advisors – Sarah Beyreis and Corey Flick. Just this year we have added two financial advisors – generous country day parents who have offered their expertise and guidance – George Vredeveld (Executive Director at Chatham Business Capital) and Ben Stacy (CPFA®, C(k)P®, CFP® Senior Vice President Wealth Management Advisor as

part of the Merrill Lynch Sprenkle Wealth Management Group). We have 34 members spread across all grade levels and there is a lot of promise for the future; the investment club will be in good hands no matter what leaders are elected for next year.”

Interviewer: “What has Investment Club accomplished so far this year?”

Graham: “We have accomplished what very few other people our age can say they’ve done. We’ve had the opportunity to craft a real investment thesis for a real investment fund with a substantial amount of real money that has the potential to have an enormous impact on the Country Day community in the future.”

Interviewer: “What first got you interested in the idea of Investment Club?”

Graham: “When I transferred to Country Day my junior year, I joined the investment club as a member. Like anyone else, I wanted to make money, so I begged my dad to let me invest and open up a portfolio. He said no. He told me to join the investment club at school to learn how to invest.”

Interviewer: “You have three sentences top to pitch Investment Club to everyone in the CCD community, first graders to alumni. How do you do it?”

Graham: “Money is everywhere, it’s all around us, and you can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. Having a foundational understanding of money and personal finance is crucial for making informed financial decisions throughout your life. The Country Day investment club offers a unique and positive setting in which you can learn and gather the tools necessary to manage your finances effectively, avoid debt, and save for future goals which can lead to greater security, independence, and overall well-being.”

This club definitely has a strategy for getting things done. Learning to invest is an important life skill that will be valuable for every person to know. If you’re considering joining the Investment Club next year, please do!