School Aid - Earning for a cause

Date: 13 May 2024

It’s lunchtime at Dilworth,  most students and staff are sitting down to lunch, some are out on the field, and others are perhaps playing chess or reading a book in the library. But in E5, lunch plates are pushed aside, the atmosphere is intense and a serious Board Meeting is taking place.

Year 13 student Sam New is presenting his case to the group, in support of buying  Intel shares; he explains that sales are expected to pick up due to the underlying trend towards AI. He goes over the financials in impressive detail. Ezrah Eagle, also Year 13 and Dilworth’s Deputy Head Prefect, questions him hard, asking why he recommends Intel over other industry players.

In this Dragon’s Den-like scenario, Board Trustees (all students) take turns presenting a business case, they have to think on their feet as their peers and then examine its merits before the whole group makes a call on whether to vote for the proposal.

The end goal is to buy and sell shares and to build up the investment fund to then give support to charitable causes.

Next, it is Luke Lambie’s turn. Luke’s business case is about going into NVIDIA shares. He explains the macroeconomics of the industry and puts his case. Economics Teacher and School Aid’s Investment Mentor, Mr William Poor,  asks him a tough one  “This company is likely over-valued, can you tell us about the risks you see in investing in an overvalued company”. This turns into a discussion for all our ‘Dragons’ to debate. Luke has a firm view saying “This technology will be a game changer for AI and it will be there (long-term)” pointing out that the company recently partnered with Amazon and Microsoft.

Chair, Brian Zhao, asks for a vote and as he does, Mr Poor prompts the team to consider two key questions as they vote for each company “What makes them a safe share” and “Do you believe what they are doing is valuable”?.

School Aid is teaching Dilworth students about business and how to understand economic trends. But it also gives them experience in presenting in a very engaging way and critically, learning how to respond to hard questions. Student Council member Luke: “We get to learn how to invest and how markets work”.

The 16-strong student Board meets twice weekly for half an hour spending their lunchtime pouring over macro and micro-economics. Ezrah says “It gets quite competitive to see which shares to buy now and make your case”.

The team also get out of the classroom to get first-hand experience. Last year they were lucky enough to visit Investment Bankers, Jarden, to see how the markets work.

But School Aid is about so much more than making money.

The Late Rt. Hon. Mike Moore ONZ, AO, former Prime Minister of NZ and Dilworth Old Boy, set up School Aid in 2011. The vision behind the concept was to teach business skills in an interactive and to build a fund for students to be able to donate to others during their time at school. A key part of the programme is for students to research and make a case for the charity they want to support - last year they supported World Vision.

School Aid is proving an incredible way for Dilworth students to learn about business and investment and also to find out about different charitable organisations and learn how to pay it forward.