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Imagination, research pay off for teen writer
His essay wins bronze for his business essay

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP - Andy Lunsford began writing stories when he was 5. At first they were superhero tales to amuse himself and friends.

But if your mom is a certified public accountant who keeps Money, U.S.News & World Report and Popular Science magazines lying around the house, your writing taste can change.

So can your future.

Recently, InvestWrite announced that Andy, now 15, won third place in his age bracket out of 3,400 essay entries in a business newswriting contest judged by securities industry experts.

Andy and his Lakota Plains Junior High teacher, Becky Falato, each won a laptop computer. That means he won't have to share a PC anymore with his mom, Jenny Lunsford, or 10-year-old sister, Alex.

Andy got his first taste of business journalism as an eighth-grader assigned to pretend he was an investment journalist writing an article about a fake business news event. He was unfazed.

Merck & Co. had just voluntarily pulled the migraine-miracle drug Vioxx from the market after studies suggested it could increase heart attacks and strokes.

Andy, whose aunt is a cancer researcher for biotechnology giant Amgen, decided to write a similar but wholly imaginary scenario for Amgen's rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel.

In his essay, he analyzed what could happen to Amgen stock, given that Merck lost 48 percent of its value initially.

"I knew something about it," Andy recalled recently, sitting cross-legged on his couch and flashing a smile full of braces. "But I also did a lot of research."

Falaton liked Andy's essay so much that she submitted it to the national InvestWrite contest.

The contest is sponsored by the nonprofit Foundation for Investor Education, which also runs the national Stock Market Game. Falato's students consistently perform well among the thousands of Greater Cincinnati students who twice a year play a mock stock market game, sponsored by The Enquirer.

When he's not writing, Andy and his sister, Alex, also compete nationally as a figure-skating pair and work out daily at Northland Ice Center in Evendale.

Despite his eye on the Olympics, Andy stills uses his skating breaks to watch CBS's MarketWatch on the rink TV.

E-mail [email protected]



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