Little Rock's Central High School Captures First Place in District "Fed Challenge"


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — For the second year in a row, a team of students from Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., captured first place in the Federal Reserve's Eighth District "Fed Challenge," an economics competition sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The Central High team, which won the national championship last year, will return to defend their title at the Federal Reserve system's national competition May 18 and 19 in Washington, D.C.

The aspiring monetary policymakers who made up Central High's team were Aaron Campbell, Brent Sodman, John Deloach, Cameron Zohoori and Hilary Ledwell. Farhan Syed served as an alternate. Their teacher is George West and their coach and former teammate, Stuart Sherrill, is an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.

The second-place team was Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Mo.

Each team made a 15-minute presentation, based on its research of economic conditions and reflecting its recommended course of action for monetary policy. These presentations were made before a panel of judges in a mock format of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve's chief monetary policymaking body. The teams then answered questions based on their presentations and research.

"Central High School's students and coaches are extraordinary. We are so proud of them," said Robert Hopkins, senior branch executive of the St. Louis Fed's Little Rock Branch. "They have dedicated a significant amount of time to realize their goal of returning to Washington, D.C., to defend their 2007 National Championship. We appreciate the support they have received from their parents, as well as the administration and faculty at Central High, and wish them the best as they prepare for the 2008 national competition."

The judges for the St. Louis competition were Robert Rasche, senior vice president and director of research for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Bryan Bezold, forecasting and load research specialist with Ameren Energy Generating Company in St. Louis; and Rik Hafer, director of the office of economic education and business research at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

With branches in Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis serves the Eighth Federal Reserve District, which includes all of Arkansas, eastern Missouri, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. The St. Louis Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., comprise the Federal Reserve System. As the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve System formulates U.S. monetary policy, regulates state-chartered member banks and bank holding companies, and provides payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. government.

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