GENEVA – When Andrew Thomas was a junior, he placed in the top 10 in Distributive Education Clubs of America International’s finance challenge, competing among 16,000 students from 50 states and seven countries.
It almost did not happen, said Thomas, 17, a senior at Geneva High School.
He competed at the DECA State Conference in Decatur, where he was a finalist – but not among the top three in the state who could move on to the international competition in Salt Lake City.
“One of the top three finalists from Illinois could not go, so I got bumped up into the third spot,” Thomas said. “At international, I placed in the top 10 … As a third-place bump-up, my chances were not good, but somehow I pulled it out.”
Thomas, 17, will graduate May 26 and plans to attend Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, with a major in finance and accounting with a minor in math. He hopes to work in private equity or investment banking.
A member of the National Honor Society, Thomas placed first in the business finance cluster exam and third in the economics exam. Geneva School District 304 recognized him recently with a Tradition of Excellence Award.
Thomas came by his passion for the stock market through his grandfather. At 10, he wrote to the editor of “SmartMoney Magazine,” asking how to invest $1,000 that he had saved. He still has it in a mutual fund.
His mother, Allison Thomas, said her son never has seen an obstacle he could not overcome.
“Who takes earlybird gym at 6:30 a.m. so he can take AP statistics and pre-calculus trigonometry?” Allison Thomas said. “I can’t say enough good things about him.”