LFCHS economics team comes home from New York City as national champions

Students win second straight National Economics Challenge title

Little Falls Community High School students and their coach (from left): Students Aaron Nilsen, Brian McNamara, Travis Spillum, and Eric Schmidt with coach Tom Stockard, took first place in the National Economics Challenge held in New York City.

Little Falls Community High School students and their coach (from left): Students Aaron Nilsen, Brian McNamara, Travis Spillum, and Eric Schmidt with coach Tom Stockard, took first place in the National Economics Challenge held in New York City.

Little Falls Community High School (LFCHS) students returned to Minnesota as winners of the 13th annual National Economics Challenge. The school’s four-member team took the title in the David Ricardo Division (for students who have only taken a single-semester economics course) May 19, in New York City.

This is the second straight title for Little Falls students, who also won the championship in 2009 and 2012.

The winning students are Brian McNamara, Aaron Nilsen, Eric Schmidt and Travis Spillum. Tom Stockard, economics, civics, and government teacher at LFCHS, served as their coach.

Little Falls represented Minnesota after winning first place in the state Economics Challenge competition, held April 7. It then advanced to the National Finals as one of the top four highest scoring teams at the National Semi-Finals competition, outpacing over 10,000 other students to win the all-expense paid trip to New York City.

At the National finals, students completed rounds of testing, worked in teams during a critical thinking round to solve a case problem, and participated in a fast-paced oral quiz bowl in order to compete for the National Championship title. Little Falls defeated the team from Carmel High School, Carmel, Ind. in the final quiz bowl round. The other teams competing in the division were Olympia High School, Olympia, Wash. and Lexington High School, Lexington, Mass.

This year, Minnesota sent two teams to the National Championship. Mounds View High School placed third in the Adam Smith Division (for advanced placement, international baccalaureate, and honors students).

In addition to the first place title, the winning students receive $1,000 in cash prizes. The third place winners receive $250. Minnesota’s Economics Challenge is sponsored by the Minnesota Council on Economic Education and is generously supported by the Mosaic Company and hosted at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The National Economics Challenge is organized by the Council for Economic Education and is supported by State Farm.

The National Economics Challenge is the only national economics competition for high school students of economics. Professor Curt Anderson, University of Minnesota – Duluth, and a center director for the Minnesota Council on Economic Education’s network established the competition in Minnesota in 1986, and the competition became a national program in 2001.

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