Congratulations to Coral Reef Senior HS, Miami Palmetto Senior HS, and FPW Marine & Oceanographic Ac

 Coral Reef

Coral Reef Senior High School (from left to right): Brittany Roth, Alex Jean-Baptiste, Emily Cochrane, Joshua Ferenczi, Grace Dewitt

 Palmetto Miami Palmetto Senior High School (from left to right): Adam Stebbing, Eric Dusseau, David Silverman Daniel Schleien, Alberto Hernandez, Zoe Cosner

High school students address Europe’s economic problems in 2011 Euro Challenge

Three teams are New York City-bound after March 22 competition organized and hosted by Miami-Florida European Union Center of Excellence.

Spain’s coping with a housing market slowdown. Greece's high government deficit and debts. Germany’s globalization (including immigration) challenges. Twelve teams of ninth and tenth graders from Miami to Fort Pierce tackled these complex issues and more at the 2011 Euro Challenge, an event designed to give high school students an opportunity to learn about the European Union and the euro.

The competition was held Tuesday, March 22, at FIU's Modesto A. Maidique Campus. Coral Reef Senior High School's team prevailed to win the regional competition. Teams from Miami Palmetto Senior High School and FPW Marine & Oceanographic Academy placed second and third, respectively. All three teams now advance to the national 2011 Euro Challenge competition in New York City at the end of April.

"Everything today is about globalization," said Christine Caly-Sanchez, assistant director of the Miami-Florida European Union Center of Excellence (EUCE), an FIU-UM consortium that promotes teaching, research and outreach activities related to the European Union. EUCE has hosted the competition for the past four years, with Caly-Sanchez recruiting schools, holding teacher and student workshops and running the actual competition. "It is important for our students to learn about Europe. Without knowing anything about Europe, you can't compete.

The competition is a program created and run by the Delegation of the European Commission, with assistance from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and support from The Moody's Foundation, Credit Suisse and Deloitte & Touche. Regional expansion of the competition—including the event at FIU—has been achieved through the support and participation of the Federal Reserve banks of Chicago and Boston, as well as the European Union Centers of Excellence at FIU, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Michigan, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the European Union Center at the University of Illinois.

Participating teams select a member country in the euro zone and examine an economic problem at the country level. A portion of each presentation is devoted to the identification of policies that could respond to the problem. Presentations are followed by a question-and-answer session between the judges and students. Participants embraced the months of research and preparation leading up to the competition, saying the benefits far outweighed whatever angst they endured. "We learn a lot about Europe and European history in school, but it really stops at modern Europe," said David Silverman, a member of the Palmetto team. "With the Euro Challenge, we learn a lot about the current political structure as well as the economic structure. That information is useful and applicable, specifically the economics information, to life in general." "This is a great competition for students across the board. They gain experience in public speaking, sharpen their research skills, improve their time management skills. They learn to think on their feet in the Q&A portion of the competition," said Rafael Birriel, team advisor and a teacher at Coral Reef Senior High School. "All of these things are important for college and beyond. Plus, it gives them a wider world view. I think that's really important today." Said Caly-Sanchez, "We are here to help. It's fun, it's exciting. We are really proud to host this competition." A special note of thanks goes out to the judges, who volunteered their time to participate in the day's events:

  • Panel I: Astrid Christina Koch, Counselor, Science, Technology & Education, Delegation of the European Union to the United States in Washington D.C.; Christophe Arnaud, Press Attaché, Consulate General of France in Miami; Joseph De Monvallier, Director of Marketing and Advertising, Eurochannel Inc.
  • Panel II: Volker Anding, Ambassador (ret.) and previous Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Miami ; Rebecca Friedman, Co-director, Miami-Florida European Union Center of Excellence; Director, European Studies; Associate Professor, History Department, FIU ; Luis Sanchez, Director, English Language Institute, FIU
  • Panel III: Juan José Cogolludo Díaz, Education Advisor, Consulate General of Spain in Miami Gloria Guzman, Economic and Financial Education , Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta-Miami Branch; María Luisa Gómez de Pablos, Deputy Trade Commissioner, Embassy of Spain in Miami

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Karen A. Cochrane Director, News and Communications Florida International University

 FPW Marine FPW Marine & Oceanographic Academy (from left to right): Samantha Dourney, Briana Hindman, Jean Castro, Nyjil Austin, Dallas Goodman