Shelby: To be a national champion, you got to have the skills, the smarts and the speed. And even though this high school competition doesn’t involve uniforms, winning the National Economics Challenge does require a whole lot of practice.
How many hours would you say you prepared?
James Teruya: Seven hours a week.
Sounya Raym: I can’t really put a number…
Brian McNamera: We met ever day after school for at least three hours.
Shelby: Just like in a sports tournament, these teams had to win a series of competitions to even qualify for the finals.
Bradley Wo: We had to pass tests at the state level, at the regional level and, finally, at the national level.
Joshua Borden: It’s pretty intense. People here really know their econ.
Sounya: A lot of the international relations questions, they are a bit obscure. So, you have to really know your stuff.
Shelby: After proving their knowledge of microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics and current events, the nation’s top teams were flown to New York City for the final showdown.
More than 10,000 students from forty states participated, and now the best of the best are here. The top teams in the country are going head-to-head to find out who will be named the national economics challenge champion.
In a fast-paced buzzer-beating quiz bowl, teams tried to rack up more correct answers than their competitors.
Competitor: Nicholas Biddle.
Competitor: Inflation increases.
Judge: That is correct.
Shelby: In the division for students with only one semester of economics, the competition between Little Falls and Carmel came down to the wire.
Competitor: Store of value and medium of exchange.
Shelby: Then Little Falls slam-dunked the last question for the victory.
What is your strategy when it gets down to the wire?
Aaron Nielsen: We kind of just – I mean, as we say, ‘we do what we do.’ We always just kind of just look at each other and say we’re going to do what we do and just whoever knows it, hit the buzzer.
Shelby: In the advanced division for students enrolled in AP, IB, or advanced economic classes, Iolani High School and Chote Rosemary Hall were neck-and-neck going into the very last question.
Officiator: A firm earns a profit of $100. It sells ten units each at a price of $150. What is the firm’s average total cost?
Shelby: Thanks to some speedy number crunching, Iolani buzzed in for the win.
Competitor: A hundred forty.
Judge: That is correct!
Shelby: How does it feel?
Bradley: Amazing! I haven’t really felt it yet. We are just still on our adrenaline rush from the competition, but we have a large trophy. So that’s good.
Shelby: The winners also walked away each with a $1,000 cash prize. But they say the real victory is not what they are holding in their hands, but in their heads.
Why is it important for young people to study finance and economics?
Marissa Grubbs: I think, especially compared to a lot of things you do in school, finance and economics is very applicable. Like, everyone deals with that in their life.
Shelby: Do you think this will help you in your future?
Joshua: Yeah. Especially the personal finance things I’ve learned as an aside to it. It really helps me know what kinds of loans to get, how to plan for my future, where to invest.
Brian: Any real decision you make, you can use economics to weigh your options and how much it’s going to cost. And also not just monetarily how much it’s going to cost, but how much time it’s going to take and if it’s worth the investment.
Aaron: Just studying economics changes your mind. It changes the way you think, and it makes you think more about all of those trade-offs.
Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.
- What do you think is the goal in having a National Economics Challenge for teens?
- What would be the most powerful motivator to get teens interested in financial issues beyond their own personal ones? What would lead more young people to learn how money moves at community, state, national or international levels?