Canyonville Academy’s Kenny Sinjana, Amaury Ndagijimana and Preston Young are invited to an awards program for the Oregon Stock Market Game on May 18 at the Doubletree Hotel in Portland.

More than 200 schools competed in the online investing competition, sponsored by the SIFMA Foundation, and Canyonville Academy finished in the top seven.

Each competitor started with a hypothetical $100,000 in the 10-week competition, in which they had to diversify in at least five different stocks. Sinjana finished with $140,841, Ndagijimana had $134,426 and Young $133,791.

Students in the same stock market seminar were also given the opportunity to manage a portfolio with real money, from two $10,000 donations.

They were able to nearly triple the money and have been using those funds to travel to various events around the U.S., including Tuesday’s Portland Trail Blazer playoff game.

Canyonville Academy has been excluded from the national contest, the Capitol Hill Challenge. Canyonville Academy is a private Christian boarding school and according to the website for the Capitol Hill Challenge the competition “engages public middle and high schools in each U.S. Congressional district to participate in a special edition of the acclaimed Stock Market Game.”

“This is absolutely blatant bigotry and prejudice against Christian schools,” seminar teacher Roger Shaffer said. “What makes it in my mind, makes it reprehensible, is the national award program has their award ceremony at the U.S. Capitol and each one of the senators and members of the House of Representatives that agreed to meet the students of the winning schools. Now our senators and members of the house are signed up to support or endorse this program that excludes people on the basis of religion. If you read the laws it specifically says that a 501©(3) is prohibited to discriminate on race, gender, etc. And one of the things that it lists is you can’t discriminate on the base of religion and they are now doing that and our senators and congressmen are endorsing that.”

Shaffer has made similar claims in 2016 and 2017, and filed a claim with Internal Revenue Service, alleging discrimination by the SIFMA Foundation.

The competition is by invitational only and Canyonville Academy finished seventh in 2018 and got to meet U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield.

Canyonville Academy has won the national title twice and had 10 teams ranked in the top 10. Shaffer said between 3,000 and 4,000 schools enter to compete in the national competition.

The Capitol Hill Challenge started Feb. 4 and will end May 10, with a winners trip to Washington, D.C., from June 10-12.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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