Every spring, the Montclair High School Fed Challenge economics team does its hometown proud. This year was no exception: on April 27, the Montclair students finished in the top 5 among 117 teams in the regional competition, qualifying them to go onto the New York finals on May 3.
Although the team didn’t win the final, it was another outstanding performance by a group that has consistently proved its mettle in competition at both the regional and national level for many years running.
Last year, the team won the New York regional finals for the seventh time in a span of 10 years. In 2001, the Montclair team won the national competition, held at the Federal Reserve Bank in Washington, D.C.; it placed second at that competition in 2000, 2002 and 2006.
Despite the fact that this year’s team didn’t advance as far, at MHS spring has come to mean Fed Challenge season – and not only the school community but residents throughout the town unite in greeting the students’ efforts with pride.
“Our Fed Challenge students excel year after year,” said Superintendent of Schools Frank Alvarez. “Whenever you see a consistent trend of excellence like that, you know it can’t be a coincidence or an isolated phenomenon. We are truly creating a tradition of excellence at our high school in the area of economics.”
MHS economics teacher Jack Weber concurs. Though the composition of each year’s team varies, due to graduating seniors cycling off the team, many who join as freshmen or sophomores elect to participate for the remainder of their time at MHS. Each year, Weber says, new students who join are inspired by the performance of those who have come before them.
“Their predecessors get them going,” he said last week, following the competition. “When I see how year after year we come through, it makes me really appreciate how extraordinary these kids are.”
Along with fellow MHS teachers Tom Manos and Tom Clifford, Weber has served as the Fed Challenge team advisor for the past several years.
Of this year’s results, Weber said, “We’re disappointed, of course, but when you set the bar so high, this happens sometimes. [But] it’s not like if you don’t win, it wasn’t worthwhile to participate. It’s always worthwhile.”
The Montclair Public School district salutes its Fed Challenge competitors, with congratulations on a job well done!