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Central High School Captures Top Honors for the Second Straight Year at National


LITTLE ROCK 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 National "Fed Challenge," an economics competition sponsored by the Federal Reserve System. The Central High team is the only open-enrollment urban public school to win, and the second school to repeat a national championship win in the competitions history.

The team advanced to the finals by winning the Eighth Federal Reserve District competition at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis last month. 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 Little Rock team won over strong competition from four other schools: Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn.; University School of Milwaukee, Wis.; Severn School in Severn Park, Md.; and Marlboro High School in Marlboro, NJ.

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.

Everyone affiliated with the program in Little Rock is thrilled with Central Highs repeat national championship, said Robert Hopkins, senior branch executive of the St. Louis Fed's Little Rock Branch. Central High Schools team is an amazing group of naturally curious students who are enamored with the Fed and monetary policy that's what it takes to persevere in this competition.

The judges for the national finals were William Poole, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Frederick S. Mishkin, member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and Nigel Nagarajan, counselor for the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis 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, provides payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. government, and promotes community development and financial education.

The team of students from Little Rock's Central High School accept the Fed Challenge cup. Left to right: Farhan Syed, John Deloach, Brent Sodman, Cameron Zohoori, Nigel Nagarajan, Aaron Campbell, Hilary Ledwell, Former Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President Bill Poole, Federal Reserve Gov. Mishkin, team coach Stuart Sherrill and teacher George West.

Photographer: Britt Leckman, Federal Reserve Board of Governors

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