Currency Debate Challenges Euro Team

By Joanne Lee ‘15

Although the team lost out in the first round for the Euro Challenge at the NY Branch of Credit Suisse Bank on Madison Avenue on March 27, the competition provided the participants an insightful experience.

“It’s the first time that the team has actually done anything like this so it’s new territory,” said Mr. Douglas O’Connor, mentor of the Euro Challenge team. “The competition itself is tough but next year the team will look a lot stronger because they’re experience. They’ve gotten their feet wet.”

The Euro Challenge is a nationwide competition and opportunity for 9th and 10th grade high school students to learn more about the European Union (EU) and the Euro currency. Teams are made up of three to five students. The gist of the competition is that each team from each high school will need to choose one country that is part of the EU and uses the euro currency. The team chooses an economic problem and then creates a 15 minute presentation introducing its solution or policies on how the team would deal with that chosen problem.

According to Mr. O’Connor, the Midwood team chose the country Ireland because the recession had hit the nation hard from 2007 to 2008. The economic problem that the team tackled is the high unemployment situation in Ireland.

“The hardest part was to meet the deadline for the project,” said Bilal Azhar ’16. “We had to do a lot of work and organize it into different parts. There was a lot of information that we had to scan through to get what we wanted and it required a lot of time. Unfortunately, we were not able to meet as often.”

The team met up twice a week since October to research and to understand the EU and its monetary policy. Due to the snow blizzards and after school activities being canceled, the number of meetings decreased. Making the most out of the time left, the team worked together to put the 15 minute presentation together along with Mr. O’Connor’s guidance.

“I wanted to experience something new and challenging, so I joined the Euro Challenge,” said Azhar ‘16. “It was beneficial because I learned a lot about the role of the European Union in the world economy.”

Robert Reid ’17 said, “Prior to this competition I wouldn’t have said that I could see myself as an economist but after working with Mr. O’Connor and learning more about Europe, European countries and their economy, I could say that it definitely peaked my interest.”

Mr. O’Connor said he finds most people who participate in this economic competition become much better students. It not only looks great on the college application, but also helps students become more knowledgeable. Additionally, according to http://www.euro-challenge.org, one of the main goals of the competition is to help students “develop communication, critical thinking, and cooperative skills.”

“In the Euro challenge it was a great learning experience to understand more about Europe,” said Patricson Poliard ’17. “We have learned from our mistakes. We will work harder next time to get to the second round.”

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