South students win economics quiz bowl

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI Nashua High School South students, from left, Rebecca Zhu, George Eid, Brandon Yan and Dev Parekh, became champions of the Harvard Pre-Collegiate Economics Challenge on April 13.

NASHUA – Four Nashua High School South students took the title of champions last week at the Harvard Pre-Collegiate Economics Challenge (HPEC), an economics quiz bowl.

The Panther quartet included George Eid, Dev Parekh, Rebecca Zhu and captain Brandon Yan.

Every April, teams of up to four students come together from across the country to compete in the event.

The bowl challenges students through multiple rounds of individual and team challenges surrounding knowledge in microeconomics and macroeconomics, as well as economic news, history and recent research.

The event is organized by the Harvard Undergraduate Economics Association (HUEA), which is a forum for all students studying or interested in economics. This year marked the 15th annual challenge.

Up to 48 teams were able to join. Rising to the top was no easy task, but the team managed to do so.

After going 3-1 in the preliminary round competition, South was seeded 16th, which was the very last qualifier for the afternoon’s session.

The Panthers went on to defeat Phillips Exeter Academy, which had defeated the Panthers earlier in the day.

In the semifinals, the Panthers defeated the prestigious Choate Rosemary Hall of Connecticut. They then went on to face a public high school team from the Princeton University area.

The Panthers had to answer the last four questions correctly to tie the contest. They won on an overtime question.

Team members attribute their win to a few things: their rigorous study schedule, the help of teacher Neil Claffey and their classes at South.

The team formed earlier in the school year. Students were invited for a trial session, during which they took a written test. Once the teams were selected, team captain Yan said they got to studying. The group met up after school, on weekends and even during school vacation to study.

Eid said they were studying a mixture of straight trivia and facts, micro and macroeconomic concepts and history.

The competition fierce, team members agreed. However, they said the turning point was when they beat Phillips Exeter, to whom they had previously lost.

“They’re a really good school,” Eid said. “So, we said if we could beat Phillips Exeter, that means we can win. We were like, ‘Wow, we can do this.'”

During their breaks between competition, team members sat and studied via with their smartphones. Eid said they had created a large Google document naming important people and other information for the trivia questions.

“We were scrolling for last-minute things,” Eid said. “We had the standard economic principles solid, but at that point, it was about how much trivia the other teams knew.”

Eid described their final round as “insane.”

“I know quiz bowl and this doesn’t usually happen,” Eid said. “Especially when we came back at the last minute and won it.”