Economics team wins national competition

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The David Ricardo division of the economics team–John Shi (12), Scott Williamson (12), Alex Garrison (12) and Kathleen Fenerty (10) here on May 19 won the National Economics Challenge competition in New York, NY sponsored by the National Council on Economic Education and the Goldman Sachs Foundation. In addition to the national title, they won $12,000 in U.S. Savings bonds.

The Adam Smith division from this school–James Peng (12), Xingping Shen (12), Vikas Vavilala (10) and Dan Stamer (12)–also qualified for nationals in New York, NY, placing third in the nation at the competition. Competing Adam Smith division teams included Vestavia Hills High School from Alabama, Carmel High School from Indiana, North Carolina School of Science and Math, and Iolani School from Hawaii. In the David Ricardo division, Mission San Jose High School from California, Iolani School from Hawaii, Little Falls Senior High from Minnesota, Souderton Area Senior High School from Pennsylvania, and this school contended for the final prize.

Official NCEE press release:

New York, NY — Vestavia Hills High School and Carmel High School defeated more than 1,000 teams from across the country to become the champions in the National Economics Challenge competition sponsored by the National Council on Economic Education and the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

Student teams from high schools across the country competed as finalists and traveled to New York to compete to win in one of two divisions. Students enrolled in advanced placement, international baccalaureate and honors economics courses were quizzed in the Adam Smith Division, while those enrolled in single semester general economics classes faced-off in the David Ricardo Division. The teams had each previously won state and regional competitions. Over 4,000 high school students in 1,000 teams from 36 states competed in the Spring of 2008 to advance to the championship series. The national finals received considerable media coverage from CNN, Voice of America, and the Early Show.

Student teams vying for the Adam Smith honors included: Vestavia Hills High School from Alabama, Carmel High School from Indiana, North Carolina School of Science and Math, and Iolani School from Hawaii. The winning team from Vestavia Hills High School was taught and coached by Jane Schaefer.

Student teams competing to win the David Ricardo honors included: Mission San Jose High School from California, Iolani School from Hawaii, Little Falls Senior High from Minnesota, Souderton Area Senior High School from Pennsylvania, and Carmel High School from Indiana. The winning team from Carmel High School was taught and coached by Michelle Foutz.

Established in 2000, with the generous support of the Goldman Sachs Foundation in a signature partnership with NCEE, the Challenge is the only national economics competition for high school students. The competition honors students and teachers for their hard work and outstanding achievement, and showcases the critical need for an in-depth understanding of the subject.

“An understanding of economics is critical if young people are to successfully assume future leadership roles,” said Stephanie Bell-Rose, President of The Goldman Sachs Foundation. “Encouraging them to see the real-world application of what they learn in school through a fast-paced, high-energy competition like the Challenge sparks an enthusiasm for learning that will inspire them to be the best that they can in all of their academic, professional and personal pursuits.”

The final competition was held at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York where over 200 educators, students and economists were in attendance. Connie Mitchell-Ford, Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal, co-hosted the event with Bob Duvall, President and CEO of NCEE. Teams were required to answer rigorous questions about complex economic concepts and theories of micro- and macroeconomics, international economics, and current events in an oral quiz bowl tournament style. First and second place teams and their teacher-coaches were awarded over $100,000 in US Savings Bonds for their winning efforts in the national and regional competitions.

“These young people from across the nation have demonstrated that they are among the best and the brightest,” said NCEE’s President and CEO, Bob Duvall, “this is the eight National Economics Challenge competition that NCEE and the Goldman Sachs Foundation have hosted, and year after year, the students continue to amaze us with their expertise and knowledge of economics. The students are an inspiration! They demonstrate and confirm the value of the NCEE’s mission.”

The NCEE (www.ncee.net) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving economic and financial literacy. Both directly and through its unique nationwide network of State Councils and more than 200 university-based Centers for Economic Education, NCEE’s programs reach over 150,000 K-12 teachers and more than 15 million students in more than 70,000 schools each year.

The Goldman Sachs Foundation was funded in 1999 with a $200 million donation from The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. The Foundation’s mission is to promote excellence and innovation in education worldwide. The Foundation is an important extension of the tradition of philanthropy and public leadership at Goldman Sachs. Grants have been awarded in excess of $114 million since its inception, providing opportunities for young people in more than 20 countries.

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