Students Win Scholarships and Prizes at SIU’s 24th Annual Accounting Challenge

March 25, 2022

Students Win Scholarships and Prizes at SIU’s 24th Annual Accounting Challenge

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — More than 200 high school students from across the region competed for scholarships, trophies and other prizes at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s 24th Annual Accounting Challenge.

The School of Accountancy at the College of Business and Analytics sponsored the course where participants tested their skills in individual and team competitions on March 18.

The challenge tested the accounting knowledge and skills as well as the problem-solving expertise of participants from high schools across the region.

Wendell Williams, Associate Chancellor of Enrollment Management, Bridgette Sargent, Assistant Dean of the College, and Marcus Odom, Acting Director of the School of Accountancy and Deloitte & Touche faculty member, greeted the enthusiastic. Chancellor Austin Lane stopped by and spoke to attendees as well.

Accounting knowledge earns scholarships and trophies

The event started with the students taking part in individual written quizzes on accounting. Participants from each division with the highest scores won certificates and scholarships worth up to $500 if they attend SIU and major in accounting. Top teams won trophies, as well as individual trophies for team members. In addition, all participants received special t-shirts for the event. At the end of the contest, the scores were tallied and a total of up to $9,250 in scholarships was awarded.

Best Individual Honors

The individual contest winners listed by event, school, along with their potential scholarship winnings, were:

Accounting I – High School

  • First place, $500 – (tie) Kaden Vollmer and Brandy Halloran, both O’Fallon Township High School; Layne Jones, Pinckneyville Community High School; Morgan Heil, Hamilton County High School; Jasmine Chau, Flora High School; and Layton Dillard, Massac County High School.
  • Second place, $300 – (tie) Carson Burkett, Woodlawn High School; Raelyn Dearing, Centralia High School; Sarah Restoff, James Davis and Molly Doerflein, all Pinckneyville Community High School; Mehek Desai, Flora High School; Reed McCuan, Massac County High School; and Janaye Cosby, O’Fallon Township High School.
  • Third place, $250 – (tie) William Graham, Centralia High School; Hanna Williams, O’Fallon Township High School; Vaden Szczepanski, Pinckneyville Community High School; and Isaac Wrzesinski, Nashville Community High School.

Advanced Accounting (Accounting II) – High School

  • First place, $500 – (tie) Mitchell Carpizo, O’Fallon Township High School; Abby Allen and Ben Watson, both Centralia High School.
  • Second place, $300 – (tie) Tyler O’Neill, Centralia High School; and Katie Bach, Vernon Township High School.
  • Third place, $250 – (tie) Zada ​​Wilkey, Vernon Township High School; Vincent Beaty, Nashville Community High School; and Stevie Miller, O’Fallon Township High School.

The teams took on creative challenges

The students then paired up for the tag team portion of the competition where they took on three unique challenges. Larry Busch, faculty member emeritus of the SIU School of Art and Design, designed one of the challenges while the other two were concocted by current SIU accounting students.

The first task was to create the tallest freestanding tower possible, using just 20 sheets of copy paper, a paper plate, a 4-foot strip of tape, and scissors. Points were awarded based on the height of the tower. The tallest measured an incredible 96 inches.

Next came a Kahoot! quiz with participants answering accounting questions such as “What is the cost of goods sold equation?” and entertaining pop culture questions like “Put these apps in order from newest to oldest: Reddit, Roblox, Facetime, Kik, and Messenger.” They only had 30 seconds to respond.

The third challenge was a cash grab requiring each team member to pour cash into a paper plate using a spatula while blindfolded. Each team had the same mix of money available, but there were a few twists as the money was stamped “cancelled” while some were designated as worth up to five times face value. Each member of the team had thirty seconds and the objective was to have the most tickets on the plate in two minutes. The top team raised $833.

Laughter abounded in the Student Recreation Center gymnasium throughout the competition and the rivalry was intense.

The students’ scores for the three challenges made up 75% of their team challenge score while the remaining 25% of their total came from their individual test scores.

Top Teams

The winners of the team contest, listed by division and school, along with the names of the team members and their teacher), were:

Accounting I – High School Team

  • First place – Flora High School: Alicia Westjohn (teacher), Dani Henson, Eli Duke, Lanie Carder, Quincy Booth.
  • The second place – Pinckneyville Community High School: Heather Genesio (teacher), Sarah Restoff, Jillian Shaneyfelt, James Davis, Layne Jones.

Accounting II – High School Team

  • First place – Centralia High School: Beth Toennies (teacher), Abby Allen, Tyler O’Neil, Ben Watson.
  • The second place – Vernon Township High School: Julie Hayes (teacher), Katie Bach, Blaze Greathouse, Zada ​​Wilkey.

SIU students paved the way

The Accounting Challenge is coordinated by SIU students and continuing a tradition that dates back more than two decades requires imagination, dedication and hard work from the student event organizers, according to Odom.

The coordinators of this year’s competition were:

  • Vonni Waters, Master of Accounting student from Boonville, Indiana.
  • Beining Jiang, a recent accounting graduate from Changchun, China.
  • Loralei Glueck, junior accounting student from Tremont, Illinois.
  • Jaiden Sanders, a young accounting graduate from Vienna, Illinois.
  • Nija Harvey, Administrative Assistant, School of Accounting.

Other students, faculty and staff also participated in the event.

accounting challenge

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