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Odds on Favorites

By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
Two Trinity seniors rise to the top of national youth investment and finance competition
What are the odds of a Trinity student making it to the finals of a months-long national investment competition that features participants from throughout the country? How about the odds of two Trinity students competing head-to-head in the grand finale for a chance at a $1,000 prize? However slim the chances, this was the case for the 2021-2022 DIME Investment Program’s Stock Battle contest that concluded in January.
 
Carter Rubio and Chaz Sutton are both members of the Class of 2022 and have been at Trinity since 9th grade. They see each other on campus each day, and the chances of them squaring off in the Commons for a verbal battle over investment options is virtually nonexistent. But in late December, Rubio and Sutton and their respective partners participated in the finale of the DIME Program’s Stock Battle contest, which was broadcast on Youtube
 
The “battle” was the culmination of months of research, education and debate about various investment industries as well as networking with industry professionals and creating financial plans for the future. 
 
The DIME Program was founded by Dion Woods, whose daughter Brittany Woods graduated from Trinity in 2016. Dion Woods is a financial industry veteran who, amidst the racial reckoning of 2020, honed his experience and focus to tackle the systemic issues that limit minorities’ access to the investment world. Said Woods, “I had a vision that the playing field needs to be leveled. How can we start building collectively? How can we build a pipeline of minority investment talent before students begin college?” After connecting with colleagues with a similar vision and passion, Woods created the DIME Program.
 
“Companies say that more financial literacy is needed to enable people to be competitive candidates. DIME has made our focus on juniors and seniors in high school to be able to give them two years of exposure to all facets of finance. It allows us to mentor and develop the next generation of minority finance talent,” said Woods of DIME’s mission. DIME, a 5013c non-profit, has grown quickly and features students from 11 different states including California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia. 
 
Woods has been heartened by the response from industry professionals who are titans within the finance world, and by the financial appetite of high school students in the program. “Professionals in the investment industry have been very willing to volunteer and pour energy into these minority youth. It is refreshing how many people have wanted to help.” 
 
In terms of the students, he highlights DIME’s focus on high school students as a differentiator. “DIME is unique because you can earn cash as a high school student and have direct connection and mentorship with people in the industry. You can also earn college scholarships, learn about careers in the investment world, and gain investing strategies that can impact you throughout your life.” 
 
So what drew Rubio and Sutton into the program? “My brother has a strong interest in investing,” said Rubio, “and so when I received an email about the opportunity, it sparked an interest in me. My brother has been influential in exposing me to and educating me about personal finance.” 
 
Sutton said, “DIME looked like the best way to learn more deeply about investing, and I also liked the networking element that would open doors besides just the education element.” Sutton credits his father for initiating his interest in the world of investing, and he thoroughly enjoyed his personal finance class at Trinity as well. 
 
Both Rubio and Sutton cited meeting with industry professionals as a highlight of the program. Said Rubio, “They shared practical information and information you don’t typically hear, like how long it takes to climb to high levels and how much work it is.” 
 
Sutton appreciated the networking opportunities available. “Hearing from industry professionals firsthand intensified my interest in business and finance, and we received direct mentorship with the opportunity to ask as many questions as we liked.” Sutton even connected with Trinity alum Drew Acquaye ’18.
 
So back to the stock battle: the format was a series of live debates over several months. Each “battle” required hours of research and collaboration with their respective partners. Sutton’s partner was in North Carolina, and they bonded over like interests. He appreciated the depth to which the research pushed him. “It was challenging to prepare because you have to think from both sides and be very thorough. We had the opportunity to consult with a coach (industry professional), which was helpful.” Echoed Rubio, “My partner was in Chicago, so we had to work around the time difference. The battles required researching the company’s history and trends over time as well as our competitor’s companies so we could be ready to respond.” 
 
Both teams did an outstanding job in the finale, and the panel of judges from a financial advising company had a difficult time choosing the winner (video announcing winners here). In the end, Rubio’s “Cash Money” team won over Sutton’s “Easy Picks” but both seniors found tremendous value beyond the cash prize. 
 
Rubio and Sutton are both two-year participants and will finish their experience with DIME this spring in the Level 4 unit, which keys in on the life events in ages 18-30 and how to maximize investment power and decision-making during those years. 
 
“What makes DIME so impactful is not just the education part, it is the connections and networking,” said Sutton, who was awarded a separate scholarship earlier this year from DIME. “It opens doors that you cannot foresee coming until you participate and creates tangential options that will go beyond the program itself.” 
 
In the case of these two seniors, the odds of a strong financial future look bright. 
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About “Connections”

Connections is a regular online column, written from the first-person perspective of Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement:

In this space, I have the privilege of sharing stories of Trinity students, alumni, and faculty and staff who are carrying our mission beyond the boundaries of campus. Many of these stories might not make the headlines, but they will illustrate how every member of the Trinity community has a unique path to discover, and the ability to make an impact on both the Trinity community and the world beyond.

I am fortunate to have been a part of this community since my own adolescence. I have been a student, a teacher, a coach, and an administrator, and in these roles I have witnessed the school’s growth and evolution through the years. We have grown in size as well as spirit.

Stories here will capture how seeds planted at Trinity have taken root and flourished into full-grown passions. You’ll also read stories of those in our community who bring their gifts from outside to help us learn. At Trinity, we seek to develop lifelong learners, and stories here will illustrate real-life examples of that beautiful symbiosis.

Read more "Connections"

List of 10 news stories.

  • At the Fore-front

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Student and faculty leaders nurture burgeoning disc golf club into a competitive team
    Read More
  • Paying it Forward

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Drawing strength from personal challenges, Rosie Williams ’26 works to inspire and mentor hearing impaired youth
    Read More
  • Wider Exposure

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    From the photography darkroom to the rapids of the James River, Thomas Clarkson ’24 finds creative ways to view and explore the world
    Read More
  • Independent Streak

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Sam Aisenberg ’24 is riding high in the saddle both in the equestrian ring and in her school community
    Read More
  • Balancing Act

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Olivia Rodenhaver ’26 makes time for competitive gymnastics — and sticks the landing
    Read More
  • photo courtesy of jshfoto

    Team First

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    With trademark unselfish play, Colin Flood ’23 leads Titan Soccer to historic highs 
    Read More
  • In Her Own Voice

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Sadie Holloway ’24 steps into the spotlight as both a singer and a leader
    Read More
  • Hanging Tough

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Reaching beyond challenges, Van Malkie ’24 pulls himself up to the next level
    Read More
  • Growing in Leadership

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    As Richmond Forum Scholar and Trinity student leader, Layal El-Ayoubi ’23 looks for ways to collaborate, encourage others and grow global awareness
    Read More
  • Odds on Favorites

    By Laura Hamlin Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement
    Two Trinity seniors rise to the top of national youth investment and finance competition
    Read More
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