On Wednesday, April 4, the Verona High School Euro Challenge Team participated in the 7th annual preliminary round of the National Euro Challenge Competition.
The Euro Challenge is sponsored and presented by the European Union Delegation to the United States in order to promote an understanding of the role of the EU and the common “Euro” currency in regional and international monetary policy. Teams of freshmen and sophomores must conduct research in order to respond to a multifaceted challenge. Students must: describe the general situation of the Euro Area; be able to analyze macroeconomic indicators including Gross Domestic Product, unemployment rate, and inflation; choose a specific economic problem to analyze; examine a country which requires economic reforms; present specific policy recommendations to address the chosen country’s economic issue.
Verona High School returned to compete this season after its inaugural team participated in 2011. Returning sophomores Samantha Bass and Brett Drozdowski were joined by new members Maura Cuddihy, Soufieh Hakimzadeh, and Jasmine Okafor. Members assisting with research and preparation included freshmen Annamaria Vasmatzidis and Nikhita Pandian. In light of recent exciting developments, the students chose to present policy recommendations to address slow economic growth in Italy. The team presented its recommendations to a panel of economic experts including Jackie O’Halloran, deputy consul general of Ireland, Dr. Steve Malin, adjunct professor of economics at Queens College and an associate with Aronson Johnson Ortiz, and Brian Berger, retired managing director of UBS Investment Bank, and current senior vice president of Glocap Search. The team’s suggestions to combat slow growth included more aggressively enforcing tax laws in Italy in order to use increased government revenue to pay down government debt, with the hope that creditors would reinvest in emerging Italian businesses. The team also suggested continuing the policies of Prime Minister Mario Monti, which have included taxing commercial properties owned by the Catholic Church, and changing employment law. In addition, the team argued that building an Italian economy less dependent on foreign energy would be beneficial in the long-run.
The Verona team represented one of approximately 70 top high schools in the tri-state competing in this year’s regional competition at the Credit Suisse Building in Manhattan. The Euro Challenge is administered by W!SE (Working in Support of Education) and is sponsored by numerous philanthropic and higher education organizations.
The team is advised by VHS math teacher Mark Russo and history/social sciences teacher Chris Tamburro.