Flash Features: news and student achievements

Eurochallenge team places first at regional competition, advances to semifinals on April 30 in New York

After working for over three months to develop solutions to the problem of Italy’s economic crisis, the PHS Eurochallenge team competed at the regional Eurochallenge competition at Credit Suisse Bank in New York on March 25 and placed first out of more than 40 teams.

The team has advanced to the semifinal round on April 30 and has the possibility of advancing to the final round later that day if it places in the top five.

In competition rounds, teams present a PowerPoint presentation in front of a panel of judges to convey their knowledge and research of the Euro, the currency of 19 of the 28 countries of the European Union.

The Princeton High School team is made up of five underclassmen presenters—Jonathan Chao ’17, Will Huang ’17, Brian Li ’17, Jason Li ’18, and Angela Kim ’17—and two alternates, Charles An ’18 and Stephanie Hu ’17. Previous team members Adithya Adaikalavan ’16 and Nikhita Salgame ’16, serve as captains, and economics teacher Lisa Bergman is the coach.

The high placement in the regional was surprising to even the captains, who have had experience competing in previous years. “We definitely had hoped we would make semifinals, but … having placed first place in the region—that was happily unexpected,” Adaikalavan said.

Last year, the Princeton High School team placed first in the overall competition. Each member of the team received $1,250 and went on a paid trip to Washington, D.C.

Members of the team are excited for the prospect of competition again, especially after placing well early on. “It’s a really good feeling to know that your hard work paid off,” Brian Li said. “I’m looking forward to going onto the next round.”

In the regional round, the team first discussed European financial issues and solutions, and then moved to Italy-specific ones, such as incentivizing spending in certain industries and increasing the efficiency of the labor market.

In the coming rounds, team members will also have to prepare for a question-and-answer session. “I’m really excited for their presentations but we’ll just have to do a lot of work for the Q&A,” Salgame said.

The opportunity to discuss economics is something that team members cherish, according to Hu. “It’s not like you’re straight taking [solutions] out of the book,” she said. “You’re applying [them] and discussing [them] with other people, so [they] become alive.”

 

Room 98.5 to be split in half

With the expansion of the PHS student body, several previously large rooms, such as rooms 132 and 134, were split last summer to create space for more classrooms—and next summer, room 98.5 will follow suit.

In a recent meeting, the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education voted to divide the room, used for health and driver’s education classes as well as for sports teams meetings.

Due to the size of the room, it can easily be split in half to create smaller but still substantial classrooms. “[The general idea is that we’re going from] one large rectangle into two square classrooms,” said Principal Gary Snyder.

photo: Sarah Golobish

This summer, Room 98.5 will be split in half to make way for two smaller classrooms. photo: Sarah Golobish

Although this action may be necessary for the rising number of students, it is not ultimately beneficial to the Physical Education department, according to Carlos Salazar, a physical education and health teacher. “Dividing this room into two separate areas … possibly will be taking away area that we personally utilize in the athletic department,” he said. “I would say that it’s probably not something that would suit us at [this time].”

After the split, many sports teams that hold meetings in 98.5 may be pressed for space—floor space previously used for exercises will become space for desks and chairs. However, Snyder believes this decrease in room will not be a problem. “It’s a pretty large space now,” he said. “So [if we] divide it into two, we should still have two good-sized classrooms that can still be used for teaching spaces … and can still be used after school.”

 

Students start sophomore community service groups

With the 50-hour community service requirement for all sophomores, new service programs are always being started by students who are not satisfied with current ones or want to advocate for causes they believe in.

Nick Jin ’17 will lead a group called Music Therapy at JWMS where sophomores will teach Special Education kids about music in a variety of ways. “A few weeks ago we did [The] Sound of Music. It was a lot of fun, because one of the kids … he knows [The] Sound of Music word by word … and he was just saying the whole thing, it was crazy,” Jin said. “Those are the things that if you weren’t to give them an opportunity to be exposed to music, you wouldn’t see that in them.”

 

STEM ROOTS, led by Sarah Golobish ’16 and Hannah Semmelhack ’16 will also be a project next year. Volunteers will visit Riverside Elementary School more than once a week to teach kids about topics in math and science, such as conducting scientific experiments, robotics, and computer coding.

“STEM ROOTS is a really great way to give leadership opportunities to … people who need community service hours, and also in a sort of fun way for both them and the younger kids,” Semmelhack said. “Anyone who participates in it is benefited in a really great way.”

Keep a Child Alive—led by Liam Parker ’17 and Max Boekelmann ’17—focuses on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention by hanging up posters around town and designing T-shirts, as well as raising money for disease-stricken children in Africa by selling baked goods.

Because KCA doesn’t directly impact those who donate, Parker said that the group is unique. “I feel like it’s a bit of an unorthodox community service program,” Parker said. “At first you might not think that it’s directly impacting the Princeton community because … AIDS isn’t prominent in Princeton … but it’s important that people in Princeton are … aware of all of the facts.”

After collaborating with the YMCA, Nora Wildberg ’17 and Hsinwei Yu ’17 will lead a project that involves reading to children at the Henry Pannell Learning Center on Witherspoon Street. “They have a library there so they pick out the books that they want to read,” Yu said.

The two hope to create connections between elementary school and high school students through the group. “We would hope that many of the sophomores would have formed bonds with the young children and have … become role models for them,” Wildberg said. “Hopefully we can help [the] children at the Pannell center to enhance their literacy and be more knowledgeable about books and reading.”

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