Stepinac High School Team Finishes in Top Tier of Bloomberg Global Trading Challenge

In a field dominated by colleges and universities, Stepinac High School’s team comprising five members of the Susan and Daniel P. Mahoney Economics and Finance Honors Academy impressively ranked 99 out of 946 teams that vied for the top honors in the 2022 Bloomberg Global Trading Challenge. The financially savvy investors from the renowned all-boys Catholic high school also placed 31 among the 327 teams in the final North America rankings. 


Stepinac’s contingent counted only among the 274 teams in the final week of the competitions that generated a positive Relative P&L, relative to the Bloomberg WLS Index (World, Large, Mid and Small Cap Price Return).  The remaining 672 teams were not in positive territory and the majority of them posted losses.  The team’s final standing in the North America rankings was even more impressive, finishing 31 out of 327 teams.  The vast majority of competitors (233 teams) posted losses.


“What made the Stepinac students’ performance remarkable is that from the very start of the month-long challenge, they outperformed many universities, colleges as well as top-ranked business graduate institutions,” said Rackeal Bellamy, moderator of Stepinac’s Economics and Finance Honors Academy and chair of the new Business Academic Department. Stepinac was also among a handful of high schools that competed in the Bloomberg Challenge and the only one from Westchester that finished in the top tiers of the international and North America rankings.


To put the Stepinac team’s performance in perspective, it was pitted against the likes of teams from Bucknell, Columbia, CUNY Baruch College, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Copenhagen Business School, Villanova, University of Liverpool, Mercy College, among others.  This year’s first place winner was a team from the University of Southampton, Great Britain.


Stepinac’s academically top performing team members, aptly named the Crusaders, were senior Anthony Pasthila of Valhalla, team captain; senior Marcus Garcia of Yonkers; junior Owen Dowicz of White Plains; junior Marc Rainone of White Plains; and junior Ryan Strzalkowski of Mamaroneck.


Teams were each given $1 million in virtual U.S. dollars to invest in stocks. The objective of the challenge was to outperform the Bloomberg WLS Index. 

The Crusaders’ initial investment strategy was focused on companies within the energy, defense and pharmaceutical sectors and was expanded to include potential opportunities in suppliers and vendors in those sectors. “Our team continued to diligently rebalance their portfolios as economic conditions changed and as other opportunities manifested itself through constant analysis,” Bellamy noted.


The Crusaders final positive P&L Relative to the Bloomberg WLS Index was $29,537.  But, in order to achieve a positive P&L, Stepinac needed to do better than the Bloomberg WLS Index which rose 8.99% over the Challenge period. 


“It was a very disciplined undertaking,” explained Bellamy. It comprised a valuation grid that team leader Pasthila developed to help determine which stocks they should invest in. The grid included a point scale system for assessing financial ratios, the company’s financial statements over a three-year period, and an examination of each company’s line chart against the Bloomberg WLS Index.


Stepinac’s decision to compete in the Bloomberg Global Trading Challenge followed the school’s launch last year of the 1,500-squre-floot Finance Center, an advanced, college-level, real-world learning technology equipped with Bloomberg Terminals.  The Bloomberg Terminals help students to conduct technical analysis of the companies they select.


 “The unique Finance Center equipped with Bloomberg terminals, devoted to teaching professional literacy in finance at a college level, represents another Stepinac first in curriculum innovation,” said Frank Portanova (Class of ’93), Vice Principal of Curriculum and Academic Studies. “Applying their studies to the real world is what will create the innovators of the future.”


 The mission of Archbishop Stepinac High School is to offer young men of the Archdiocese of New York a highly competitive academic and extracurricular program that will prepare them for college and leadership roles. The faculty and staff accomplish these objectives by pursuing excellence and creating a supportive, disciplined atmosphere with a strong sense of camaraderie and Christian values that is unique to the Stepinac experience. For more information, visit