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Students win accounting scholarships, trophies

February 10, 2010, Christi Mathis

${image-alt} Students test the strength of their design

More than 300 high school and community college students and about 30 teachers converged at Southern Illinois University on Friday, Feb. 5, for the 12th Annual Accounting Challenge.

A total of $3,050 in scholarships along with trophies went to students who competed individually and in team challenges. The students tested their knowledge of basic and advanced accounting principles on written exams; testing was on two levels based upon the level of their current accounting classes.

Then, the team Accounting Challenge tested their ability to work as a team in solving very challenging problems. Gary Tisdale, assistant director of the Student Recreation Center, filled in for Larry Busch, professor emeritus in the School of Art and Design, in directing the Accounting Challenge. It’s a job Busch has done for many years and Tisdale took the helm for 2010.

This year, each team’s charge was protecting a delicate commodity -- some cherry tomatoes. Each team got a few basic supplies including four sheets of paper, a yard of masking tape and a few other odds and ends. With this and a lot of imagination, they were to keep their tomatoes from getting smashed by the weight of a pendulum hammer comprised of four 4 by 4 blocks. The hammer carried enough force to collapse a soda can.

But, to accomplish the goal, the teams had to find a way to construct something sturdy enough with those minimal supplies to keep the hammer from damaging the fragile fruits. It was a challenging quest and the students devised a wide assortment of designs with varying degrees of success.

High school districts participating in the 2010 Accounting Challenge were: Anna-Jonesboro, Cairo, Carbondale, Carrier Mills-Stonefort, Christopher, Edwards County, Eldorado, Fairfield, Flora, Gallatin County, Hamilton County, Harrisburg, Marion, Massac County, Mt. Carmel, Mt. Vernon, Pinckneyville, Red Bud, Salem, Steeleville, Tuscola, West Richland and Webber Township along with Shawnee and John A. Logan community colleges. Some schools fielded multiple teams.

The School of Accountancy in the SIU College of Business and the Accounting Circle, the school’s alumni group, along with Caterpillar sponsored the event at the Student Recreation Center. Local merchants provided door prizes for the event and each participant got a commemorative T-shirt. SIU President Glenn Poshard welcomed the participants and visited with most of them individually. Participants enjoyed a pizza luncheon too.

Thanks to Caterpillar and the Accounting Circle, winning individual students and teams received trophies. Also, individual competition winners earned SIUC scholarships they can claim by attending the University and majoring in accountancy.

“The School of Accountancy Accounting Challenge is a great event. We draw some of the best students in the area and we thoroughly enjoy the day. We are even more excited when we see those students in our programs, such as with Vance Sawyer, who attended when he was in high school and now is an accounting major and was the coordinator of this year’s challenge,” said Marcus D. Odom, director of the School of Accountancy and Deloitte and Touche Faculty Fellow.

Winners of the 2010 Accounting Challenge individual competition, listed with the school they attend and the accounting scholarship they won, are:

Advanced Accounting -- Community College

• First: Brandon McElmurry, Shawnee Community College, $500

• Second: Jonathan Pengress, Shawnee Community College, $250.

Advanced Accounting -- High School

 First-tie: Matthew Wooley, Flora High School and Orion Smith, Marion High School, $500 each.

• Second: Blake Fields, Mt. Vernon Township High School, $250.

Accounting 1 -- High School

• First: Tad Thompson, Flora High School, $500.

• Second: James Rinehart, Flora High School, $300.

• Third: Tyler Dobbs, Fairfield Community High School, $250.

Winning team trophies at the competition, listed by school with team members by name, are:

Advanced Team

• First: Marion High School, Aaron Adeoye, Ken Harris, Levi Moore and Orion Smith.

• Second: Marion High School, Rachel Arnold, Andy McTaggart, Cody Wilson and Chase Winn.

Accounting I Team

• First: Massac County High School, Miranda Davidson, Rebecca Dickerson, Tara Lovell, Shelby Pryor, Kelly Randolph.

• Second: Edwards County High School, Kassandra Kodrich, Audrey Krajec, Dylan Smith.

Preparations are already under way for the 13th Annual Accounting Challenge and the Accounting Circle welcomes contributions to help fund activities like this to reach potential future students. For more information about the Accounting Challenge or School of Accountancy at SIU, contact Odom at 618/453-2289 or e-mail siu.accounting.challenge@gmail.com.