Olympia economics team preps for NY

State-winning foursome will compete in National Economics Challenge

lpemberton@theolympian.comMay 6, 2013 

A four-student team from Olympia High School is headed to New York May 17 to compete in the 2013 National Economics Challenge.

Olympia High took first in state and placed in the top four in the country in the contest’s David Ricardo Division, a competition for students who have taken one semester or less of general economics courses.

“It’s a pretty elite deal,” said Olympia High economics teacher Brian LeTourneau. “And everything’s paid for.”

The team was made up of Dustin Badger, Laura Smit, Emily Donaldson and Josh Borden. Two of the students won’t be able to make the trip due to prior commitments. Olympia High seniors Luke Johnson and Marissa Grubbs will compete in their place.

Badger, 18, qualified to compete in the bi-district track and field championships.

“I’m sad, but at the same time it gives someone else a chance to go to New York,” he said.

Donaldson, 17, will be performing in a concert with Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia.

“It’s really frustrating because it’s New York,” she said. “And I want to go to New York.”

LeTourneau said Olympia High has competed at the regional level several times, but this is the first time one of his teams has qualified for nationals.

Even though he’s not a fan of traveling, he said he’s excited for the kids.

“I want them to win — that’s what I want,” LeTourneau said. “They’re hard workers, and really nice kids, too.”

LeTourneau said everyone on the team has spent numerous hours at home — and at extra sessions he leads at the school after school and on weekends — studying economics.

The team was notified via Skype on April 25 that they were headed to New York.

“I was sort of shocked and surprised,” said Borden, 17. “I did not expect it.”

While in New York, the students will take written examinations on macroeconomics, microeconomics, international economics and current events. They also will compete in an oral quiz bowl-style competition.

“I feel pretty ready because Mr. LeTourneau has done a lot of review sessions with us,” said Smit, 17.

In addition to an all-expenses-paid trip, the students will be awarded prizes ranging from $200 to $1,000 each, depending on where their team places in the competition.

They also will get tours of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and the New York Stock Exchange.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com www.theolympian.com/edblog @Lisa_Pemberton

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