Economic team takes on Harvard challenge

Alexis Yi, staff writer

Every April, hundreds of high school students flock to the Harvard campus, and they aren’t just there to tour. These students go to compete in the Harvard Pre-collegiate Economics Challenge, where winners receive cash prizes. Edina sent two teams of four to the competition on April 13.

Not everyone is able to get on the team, though. Steven Cullison, an EHS social studies teacher, makes the decision. He based this year’s choices on students’ performance in previous competitions and in-school tryouts. “Some very very good students competed and just missed. We have a lot of talented, bright, students here,” Cullison said.

At the Harvard Challenge, the two teams placed 13th and 17th out of 64 total teams, which included competitors from other countries. The senior team also made it into finals.

Junior Avery Greene joined the team this year after learning about it in her AP Economics class. The econ team has given her a greater understanding of current events and her own finances. “I worked at the Edina Aquatics Center. [The Center] didn’t do great last year,” Greene said. “I was like, well, let’s think about what’s going on around the world. There’s Brexit, so the value of the Euro has [gone down], so everyone was out of town this summer, in Europe . . . It probably wasn’t the pool that was doing bad, it was just that the demand for the pool was.”

For practice, Cullison calls the students into Flex and sets up mock competitions. Students get into groups of four and buzz in to answer questions. They study the AP Economics course materials as well, and several of the students are currently in the class.

Another student who attended the Harvard competition was junior Aryan Jain. “I studied econ because I thought it was an easy class, but now I genuinely like it,” he said. “When you study econ, you actually know what’s going on in the world around you.” He joined the team this year as well, and was one of four students who went to the state economics competition.  

Greene had an additional goal in mind for the trip. “I’ve kind of found somewhere where I can expand my influence and my role and hopefully be a leader for other girls who want to go into economics, because it’s something that I really love,” Greene said. “That’s kind of what I’m looking forward to: just learning how I can be a better role model.”