Successful trip for econ team

Published 4:26 pm Thursday, April 5, 2007

Picayune Memorial High School’s Economics teams packed a one-two punch at the Mississippi Economics Challenge in Jackson on March 27.

This year will be memorable for two reasons. The first reason is PMHS finished first and second in their division. Even more memorable, however, is the fact that the competition was so close between the two teams that it came down to the final question of the tournament.

This is the second time a PMHS team has won the event, which is in its fourth year, said PMHS Social Studies teacher and economics coach Lucian Roberson.

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Each member of the winning team was awarded a $500 scholarship. The team was also given an all-expense paid trip to the Heartland/South Regional Economics Challenge in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 22. The Heartland/South region is comprised of state winners from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota and Oklahoma. There are four regional competitions, and the regional winners in each division will receive $1,000 savings bonds and all-expense paid trips to New York City for the national competition in May.

The winning team included seniors Doug Hall, Julie Hall, Casey Mitchell and Megan Purvis. The second place team, which was competing with only three members, was comprised of seniors Dale Meitzler and Marshall Pace and junior Ryan Gilbrech. Both teams are coached by Roberson.

Both teams are on the agenda to be recognized by the Picayune City Council on April 17, said Roberson.

In a phone interview Wednesday morning, PMHS senior and economics team member Julie Hall said of the event, “It was an intense competition and we were happy that we represented Picayune as well as we did and we are looking forward to traveling to Minneapolis at the end of this month.”

The Mississippi Council of Economic Education is “a business-type community consortium that is backed by the major corporations here in the state,” said Roberson, and its purpose is to give students a stronger, more reality-based background in economics. Roberson stressed the importance of economic education by saying, “Our students are our society’s future and how well we fare in a globally competitive market will determine our country’s ultimate survival.”

The challenge is separated into two divisions. The two PMHS teams competed in the David Ricardo Division, which included about 36 teams from 15 public and private schools, said Roberson. This division includes students whose economics classes are a semester or less. The Adam Smith Division is for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and honors students who are in economics classes the full school year, Roberson said, and was won by a team from Bay High School in Bay St. Louis.

Competition at the challenge is divided into four rounds. The first three rounds are comprised of written multiple-choice tests that evaluate the students individually in the categories of Macro, Micro and International Economics. After two rounds, the student with the highest score is named the Mississippi Economics Student of the Year. This honor went to Joe Davis, of Madison Central High School. After the third round, Individual scores are then combined to produce a team score for all rounds. The top two teams in their respective divisions compete head-to-head in a 30 question quiz bowl.