EU News: Can Illinois High School Students Solve the Euro's Challenges?

Apr 24, 2012, 17:41 ET from Delegation of the European Union to the United States

American High School Teams from 12 States Compete in the 2012 Euro Challenge

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American high school students are poised to help solve Europe's economic problems, as teams from 25 high schools, including Elgin High School in Elgin, IL, gather at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on April 30th to compete in the semi-final and final round of this year's Euro Challenge competition.

The Euro Challenge is a unique and exciting educational opportunity for high school students from across the United States to learn about the European Union – the largest economic partner of the U.S. – and the economies that share its single currency, the euro. Participants showcase their knowledge of everything from ballooning government deficits to rising unemployment, and make policy recommendations to solve these and other challenges confronting countries.

The Euro Challenge fosters a better understanding of the European economy and transatlantic economic relations, and it supports local learning objectives in economics and finance. The competition continues to expand nationally. This year, more than one hundred high school teams from 18 states plus the District of Columbia participated in the program. Preliminary regional competitions concluded in early April, with 25 schools advancing to the finals on April 30.

"I am proud to support a program that encourages young Americans to learn about the challenges confronting the economies of Europe, and what countries that share a common currency are doing to overcome these challenges," said Ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United States. "The Euro Challenge is a great learning experience for these students as they go beyond the headlines of economic news to fully understand key economic concepts and the complex realities faced by policymakers. By learning how Europe is dealing with these challenges, the Euro Challenge helps young Americans to have a better understanding of how Europe and America are deeply connected." 

The competition, which has reached thousands of American high-school students over the past seven years, brings the EU to life, better than any text book or website, and it fosters a life-long interest in economics and the important EU-U.S. partnership. It also promotes teacher professional development by funding a study trip to Brussels (the headquarters of the European Union institutions) for Euro Challenge teachers over the summer. Steve Eschrich, teacher at International Academy Central in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, which won the competition last year, stressed that the Euro Challenge is "The single most beneficial competition to offer kids a venue through which to learn and gain practical experience beyond our borders."

The 9th and 10th grade students have spent months researching European economic policy and history with the help of mentors from their schools and resources provided by the EU Delegation. In the competition, teams of three to five students make presentations about the economic situation of the "euro area" (the 17 EU member countries that have adopted the euro so far), and then focus on an economic challenge confronting one member country of the euro. The challenges range from slow growth and high unemployment to aging and globalization. Teams make recommendations on how to solve these challenges and must answer questions from a distinguished panel of judges to showcase their grasp of economic issues.

The top five winning teams will receive monetary awards generously provided by The Moody's Foundation, along with a trip to Washington, D.C. for the top two teams.

"Moody's is proud of its continued support of the Euro Challenge," said Frances G. Laserson, president of The Moody's Foundation. "This competition enables the next generation to see the value in acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to understand global economic issues."

The Euro Challenge is a program launched and supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. The national coordinator of the competition is w!se (Working in Support of Education). The Federal Reserve Bank of New York serves as program advisor.

Other partner organizations include:

  • Credit Suisse;
  • The Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta (Miami branch) and Cleveland (Pittsburgh branch);
  • European Union Centers of Excellence at Florida International University/University of Miami, University of Illinois, University of North Carolina,  University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas, University of Wisconsin, and George Washington University;
  • The European Union Centers at the University of Indiana and Rutgers University. 

Of the 25 teams competing at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the semi-final round the morning of April 30, five teams will advance to the final round of the competition held in the afternoon the same day.

The following schools are competing in the semi-final round:

Oceanside High School, Oceanside, NY
Rumson-Fair Haven High School, Rumson, NJ
West Windsor Plainsboro High School, North Plainsboro Township, NJ
Westfield Senior High School, Westfield, NJ
Rutgers Preparatory High School, Somerset, NJ
Herricks High School, New Hyde Park, NY
The Delbarton School, Morristown, NJ
High School for Math, Science & Engineering, New York, NY
Hunter College High School, New York, NY
George W. Hewlett High School, Hewlett, NY
Marlboro High School, Marlboro, NJ
Montclair High School, Montclair, NJ
Ridgefield High School, Ridgefield, CT
School Without Walls, Washington, DC
Coral Gables Senior High School, Coral Gables, FL
Marine & Oceanographic Academy, Fort Pierce, FL
Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Pinecrest, FL
Madison East High School, Madison, WI
Elgin High School, Elgin, IL
Bedford High School, Bedford, MA
International Academy Central, Bloomfield Hills, MI
East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, NC
Carrboro High School, Carrboro, NC
North Allegheny Intermediate High School, Pittsburgh, PA
First Baptist Christian Academy, Pasadena, TX

For further information on this year's competition and enrollment for 2013, please visit: & @EUintheUS

SOURCE Delegation of the European Union to the United States