Little Falls takes third economics title

  • Article by: ADAM BELZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 23, 2013 - 7:27 PM

The National Economics Challenge lets high school students test their knowledge of the dismal science.

 

Might be time to call it a dynasty.

Four high school seniors from Little Falls, Minn., went to the National Economics Challenge last weekend and came back with their third title in as many tries.

The winning students are Brian McNamara, Aaron Nilsen, Eric Schmidt, and Travis Spillum. Their coach is Tom Stockard, who teaches economics, civics and government at the high school in Little Falls.

The boys beat a team from Carmel, Ind., in a final quiz bowl round on Sunday, when most often the question wasn’t fully read before one of the teams gave an answer.

With two questions remaining and Little Falls leading 12 to 10, the question was: “Think of the functions of money with respect to the following. First you save your money, then you are able to buy a car. In the correct order—”

Beep. Aaron Nilsen hit the buzzer, and gave the winning answer in front of the audience at the Lincoln Center in New York City.

“Store of value, and medium of exchange,” he said.

And that was it. Each student received $1,000 in cash, not including the all-expenses paid trip to New York.

Schmidt said in April, after Little Falls took the state championship at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, that it would be his first trip on an airplane.

It’s getting difficult to be surprised by the success of the students from Little Falls, population 8,300. The high school generally rolls through the state competition and won national titles in 2009 and 2012.

The reason it didn’t win in 2010 and 2011? There was no national competition in its division those years.

Minnesota had two teams compete in New York City. Mounds View High School took third place among large schools with Advanced Placement programs. Mounds View’s team members are Christopher Collins, Emily Ruan, Samuel Rush, and Maximillian Wang. They were coached by Martha Rush.

The challenge is the only national economics competition for high school students. Curt Anderson, a professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, established the competition in Minnesota in 1986, and the competition became a national program in 2001.

 

Adam Belz • 612-673-4405 Twitter: @adambelz

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