Student group joins to compete in Economic Challenge

Meredith Comas, Online Editor-in-Chief

Manhattan High has a multitude of athletic and academic teams to fit the personality of virtually any student who may roam within its cinder block halls waiting for a chance to let out their competitive side. However, not often is that edge located within the academic realm of economics, something juniors Will Bannister, Caden Hickell, Alison Payne and Megan Keenan are proving wrong with their new MHS Kansas National Economic Challenge team, which placed second at state earlier this spring.

The team, made solely up of those four, was an idea by Bannister and Business and Finance teacher Glenda Eichman. According to Bannister, the original proposal was for him to take an individual Economy test, but once Bannister saw the team option that included scholarship opportunities, he quickly enlisted others to join the competition as a MHS team.

The group worked with concepts from macro and micro economics, studying outside of school to prepare only a week before the event. According to Payne, having worked together previously in Debate and Forensics as close friends made group study sessions “really fun” and “engaging.”

“Our close knit team atmosphere made hours of preparation go by like minutes,” Bannister said. “The team dynamic we had was really unique and it was more like hanging out than preparing for the competition.”

The team was not expecting the outcome they received based on their short preparation period, however, they expressed happiness in not only their scholarship award of $50, but also their academic achievement and improvement of economic concepts. According to Payne, they now have “a much better idea of what to expect” for next year.

“I think that our placement based off the short window of time really shows how hard everyone was willing to work, and how intellectually adaptable we are,” Bannister said.

For now, the team is working to get more students involved for next year so they can reach the all-expenses-paid national competition in New York City with scholarship prizes of up to $2,000. According to Bannister, in order to qualify for the team, students have to take an initial assessment to try out, which is open to all students. However, there are only five spots on the state team and four spots on the national team, so interested students need to come prepared for some competition.

“The competition should be tough if you want to try and make it on the team,” Bannister said.