Texas and Massachusetts High Schools Take Home Top Honors in Council for Economic Education’s 16th Annual National Economics Challenge

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Bellaire High School and Lexington High School Win Council for Economic Education’s Annual Competition

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Economics explains why the world is grey in a really simplistic way; and being able to understand the grey is really important.

After besting over 10,000 competitors, students from Bellaire High School (Bellaire, TX) and Lexington High School (Lexington, MA) have taken home the top honors in the Council for Economic Education’s 16th Annual National Economics Challenge. Just eight teams made it to the final rounds, facing off in a fast-paced quiz bowl hosted by CNBC Senior Economics Reporter Steve Liesman in New York City.

Offering a fun and competitive way to showcase their knowledge, the National Economics Challenge is the most prestigious economics competition for high school students in the country. In addition to featuring the competition live on “Power Lunch,” CNBC welcomed two students to join them live in the studio for the “Squawk Box“ morning show, and aired a segment on the Challenge later that evening on “Nightly Business Report.” This year’s challenge also included a special guest video question from William C. Dudley, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Guest judges included Michelle Meyer, Deputy Head of US Economics, Managing Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Mark Zandi, Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytics; and Bruce Kasman, Managing Director and Head of Economic Research for J.P. Morgan.

“The National Economics Challenge offers a unique way to engage students in the study of economics, making it both fun and rewarding for them,” said Nan J. Morrison, CEO and President of CEE. “These are lessons they’re going to use to make smart decisions throughout their lives, whether or not they go on to become economists—although we wouldn’t be surprised to see many of these kids emerge as leaders and policy makers in a few years!”

For senior Antony Yun (Bellaire High School), whose team won the Adam Smith advanced division, his favorite part was coming together to work as a team with his fellow classmates: “I learned a lot from my fellow teammates, just by being in proximity to them: one of them is good with statistics, while another is good at thinking through every question and taking an analytical approach,” he explained. “We all have our own specialty, and we teach each other.”

When asked about the importance of learning economics, many students cited the upcoming elections—even though none of them are old enough to vote. Emily Ruan of Mounds View High School said that by learning economics, she’s gained a new perspective into the world of politics: “Now, I can evaluate the politicians’ proposals and say, ‘this is realistic,’ or ‘this isn’t’—I really understand what’s going on.”

“So many [voters] don't have the privilege of taking economics and may have a faulty view of basic economic concepts,” added Antony, who’ll turn 18 just in time for the November elections. “Basic decisions, how you view candidates and policies, is influenced by your knowledge of economics. If you don’t have that knowledge, you won’t be able to make good decisions.”

Kenzie Martin, who helped lead the Lexington High School team to victory in the David Ricardo division (for students who had only taken one economics course), also spoke to the real-world benefits of an economic education: “It helped me figure out, what the heck is the news actually saying? People are expected to just figure it out and there are a lot of misconceptions. That’s why I enjoyed behavioral economics so much, why people make the decisions they do,” she explained. “Economics draws out exactly why people are thinking the way they are and the logic behind it is fascinating. Economics explains why the world is grey in a really simplistic way; and being able to understand the grey is really important.”

The Council for Economic Education thanks Sharaf Al-Hariri for his sponsorship in support of the National Economics Challenge and Russell Glass for his sponsorship of The Russell Glass Individual Achievement Award, presented to Michael Wang of Carmel High School (Carmel, IN) for highest individual achievement.

About the Council for Economic Education
The Council for Economic Education is the leading non-profit organization in the United States that focuses on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school - and we have been doing so for 67 years. We carry out our mission by educating the educators: providing the curriculum tools, the pedagogical support, and the community of peers that instruct, inspire, and guide. All resources and programs are developed by educators, and delivered by our national network of affiliates. Our goal is to reach and teach every child. Each year, CEE’s programs reach more than 55,000 K-12 teachers and over 5 million students across the United States. EconEdLink – our free, online educator gateway for economic and personal finance lessons and resources – attracts more than 1.1 million unique visitors each year.

For further information about the Council for Economic Education, go to: http://www.councilforeconed.org.

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Alicia Sellitti
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