On our way to nationals

Extracurricular activities head to the 2016 USA stage

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On our way to nationals

Jack McCoy, staff reporter

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As the school year nears its end, Mounds View’s top academic teams push their competition to the highest level: the national competition.


From April 23-27, 24 Mounds View students competed at the 2016 Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) National Competition in Nashville, Tennessee. The students qualified for the national tournament by placing first at State, where the students competed in role plays and staged interviews. Students can also qualify by earning leadership positions in volunteer and outreach programs within the chapter. At the competition, students competed in varying types of business challenges, like trying to sell original products.

“I had to come up with my own product and try to sell it to entrepreneurs using different marketing and business tactics,” said Sam Lerdahl, 11.

Although the team didn’t do as well as they had hoped—nobody on the team placed—the members still had a great time. “It was definitely a really cool experience,” said Lerdahl. “Going all the way to Nashville with friends was really fun, and we had a blast while we were there.”

Jake Weightman, 12, answers a quiz bowl question at the 2016 MN State Economics Challenge.

Jake Weightman, 12, answers a quiz bowl question at the 2016 MN State Economics Challenge.

Econ Club

Econ Club is arguably one of Mounds View’s most successful clubs. The club has three divisions, Junior Achievement (JA) Company, Econ Challenge, and Personal Finance Decathlon (PFD), which all qualified for national tournaments this year.

PFD Nationals were held in Kansas City on May 8. The competition consisted of a series of different rounds to test students’ mastery of 10 areas of personal finance. In the weeks leading up to the competition, the team met every week to prepare. “My team got together to practice multiple choice tests, quiz bowl and case studies,” said David Zheng, 11. “We took tests found online and used textbooks. [Former teacher Michael] Kauls also helped us with case studies.”  Even though the team took 7th, they are confident that they learned plenty about how to approach adult finance.

The JA Company division has two successful companies competing in Washington D.C.  on June 19-23. Rhidian Tech is currently developing a mobile attendance app called Edupass, which will allow students to sign up and check in with teachers during ReFLECT hours. The other company, Leozarb, created a mobile ebook to help students learn Spanish. At the competition, students will pitch their company ideas to a panel of judges to demonstrate their project. The students also learned some valuable real-world skills. “Creating a company is so beneficial because it gives you the opportunity to apply the skills you learn in the classroom,” said Leozarb co-founder Furqan Syed. “Whether it’s applying mathematics to finances or English skills to writing a business plan, the goal is ultimately creating a cohesive company that brings value to society.”

Four Mounds View students will also be competing at the Econ Challenge nationals competition in New York on May 21-23. Econ Challenge covers topics in Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, and international economics. Students will compete in a multiple choice test as well as critical thinking round and a quiz bowl round, hoping to continue the success streak they’ve had in previous years.

William Newhouse, 12, adjusts his Scrambler vehicle before a Science Olympiad competition.

photo courtesy of Joanna Liu
William Newhouse, 12, adjusts his Scrambler vehicle before a Science Olympiad competition.

Science Olympiad

On May 21, 15 members of Mounds View’s Science Olympiad Team will compete at the National Science Olympiad Tournament in Wisconsin. There are 23 events in Science Olympiad, covering a variety of topics including bridge building, environmental sciences, wind turbines, and forensics. Each event includes solving and answering scientific word problems or well as building designs and machines under given criteria.

Last year, the team placed fifth in the nation, with a handful of individual medalists. This year, the team is preparing hard once again. “I spend about five hours a day on my building events now,” said Jeffrey Hu, 10. Based on the amount of preparation they are putting in, the members of the Science Olympiad team are hoping to place amongst the top ten at Nationals for the fourth year in a row.

Joey Floeder, 11, enjoys the atmosphere of a competition.

Emily Moses
Joey Floeder, 11, enjoys the atmosphere of a competition.

Quiz Bowl

In Quiz Bowl, two teams compete head-to-head to answer questions from all areas of knowledge including science, history, literature, fine arts, current events, sports, pop culture, mythology, and more. This year, the Mounds View Quiz Bowl team will be competing at nationals in Dallas, Texas on May 27.

“We qualified in two ways,” said Justin Duffy, 10. “We were one of the top teams in our division and also one of the top teams at the RATRACE competition in November.” In order to prepare for competitions like nationals, Quiz Bowl team members have to study a huge variety of topics in order to win.

“Some of the information we learn in our classes at school; other topics we learn on our own,” said Duffy. “For example, I’ve read many mythology books, which helps me answer mythology questions that are frequently asked.”


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