BOSTON – Tuesday, May 19, was a banner day for New England high school economics students, with teams of students winning national economics competitions in New York City and Washington, DC. In New York, a team from Massachusetts was victorious in the 9th National Economics Challenge, a competition involving some 2,000 teams from across the country, while a team from Connecticut won the 14th National Fed Challenge, held at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, DC. Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, won the Economics Challenge, while Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, CT, took home the gold in the Fed Challenge.
Phillips Academy team members included Benjamin Elder, James Foster, Kwon-Yong Jin, and Tiffany Li. They were coached by teachers Aneesa Sayall and Carroll Perry.
Members of the Choate Rosemary Hall team included Stephanie Choi, Alexandra Cooper-Ponte, Daniel Hartsoe, Suril Kantaria, Nikhith Naidu, and Aditya Rajagopalan. Ted Hartsoe coached the Choate team. It was a special victory for Mr. Hartsoe and the Choate students: Choate teams coached by Mr. Hartsoe have competed in the Fed Challenge for 12 years, often winning the regional competition at the Boston Fed, but this was Choate’s first win at the national level.
The Economics Challenge, conducted in the style of a quiz bowl tournament, requires students to answer questions about complex economic concepts and theories in microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics, and current events. It is sponsored by the Council for Economic Education and the Goldman Sachs Foundation. Connie Mitchell-Ford of the Wall Street Journal co-hosted the 2009 challenge, along with Robert Duvall, CEO of the Council for Economic Education. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has served as a state host for the competition, providing logistical support.
The Fed Challenge is sponsored by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Students are asked to give a 15-minute presentation analyzing current economic conditions and to recommend an appropriate course for monetary policy. They also spend 15 minutes answering questions posed by a panel of judges. Their deliberations emulate those of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve entity responsible for monetary policy decision-making. Judges for the May 19 competition included a former Federal Reserve Governor and the chief economists of the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Richmond.
“We are extremely proud of our New England teams and these excellent results,” said George “Scott” Guild, the Boston Fed’s director of economic education. “There were many outstanding teams in both Challenges at the regional level here in New England, and I think you can tell this by the success of our two teams that competed nationally. These competitions are valuable in building economic understanding among high school students, and we are pleased to see the strong results for New England.”