SHAMOKIN - Success in the final rankings isn't the most important part of student participation in the Stock Market Game Challenge. It's the exposure to the world of finance, investment and simple economics that will pay dividends with the financial issues they faces as adults.

That was the message to 42 students and teachers who attended Friday's Stock Market Game recognition luncheon at Original Italian Pizza.

The game is coordinated by the Selinsgrove-based EconomicsPennsylvania and is conducted locally at Line Mountain, Mount Carmel Area, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional and Shamokin Area school districts with sponsorship by Sunbury Motor Company and The News-Item.

Open to teachers and students in grades 4 through 12, the 10-week simulation offers players the opportunity to invest a hypothetical $100,000 in stocks chosen from the American, New York and NASDAQ markets.

EconomicsPa invites winners to the annual luncheon, where certificates, gift cards and door prizes are awarded and members share experiences - good and bad - about their trading.

As Mount Carmel Area eighth-grader Ben McFadden said, "It's a lot different than the 'Wolf of Wall Street.'"

Hannah Campbell, a member of Line Mountain's high school team, noted her group bought Netflix.

"It was doing well for a couple weeks, then it cost us $25,000," she said.

Shamokin Area senior Robert Kullish said his team bought stock in a number of industries, including fracking. His advice to others was to buy stocks related to fuels and medicine, while steering clear of the big-name retailers because they're either too expensive or "they tank."

Teacher Aaron Domanski, one of Mount Carmel Area's Stock Market Game advisers, said he's impressed at how well even middle school students do with the program once they grasp the concept of trading.

EconomicsPa's Carolyn Shirk coordinates the program for schools throughout central Pennsylvania.

The top three teams, their advisers and their final money totals in this year's Sunbury Motors/News-Item contest were:

High school: Shamokin Area, David Kopitsky, $145,898.56; Mount Carmel Area, Rob Scicchitano, $105,421.54, and Lourdes, Janet Johnson, $103,705.15.

Middle school: Mount Carmel Area, Domanski, $104,851.92; Lourdes, Katrina Gownley, $101,710.92, and Line Mountain, Karrie Bowman, $99,428.91.