By: Nicholas Freeman
Flora High has attended the accounting challenges at SIU and Rend Lake since 2005. In all of those years, they’ve only missed one meet due to a snow storm. Alicia Westjohn, business teacher and Business Club sponsor, said that it hardly snowed that year, but it was called off in anticipation of a snow storm. In general, the challenges involve students working together to solve creative puzzles as well as an individual test.
In the 2016 accounting challenges, FHS students received multiple awards as well as a scholarship. Parker Moses placed 3rd at SIU Carbondale for Advanced Accounting and received a $250 scholarship. At Lake Land College, Lane Stanford placed 2nd in general business. Moses also earned 2nd place in accounting.
One of FHS’s biggest success stories comes from a graduate of the class of 2011, Tad Thompson, who accumulated five scholarships between the two colleges. Ben Putbrese, a 2009 graduate, is another student who performed exceptionally at these events.
Flora High business and accounting students will again charge into battle at SIU and Rend Lake on February 24 and April 28 respectively. SIU’s challenge involves the participants taking an accounting test followed by several group competitions. The competitions change every year but typically focus on teamwork and creative thinking. Building a structure that can withstand the weight a freefalling sledgehammer is just one type of possible competition.
Lake Land hosts a competition in the same fashion as Carbondale.
“We always want to win but it’s still a great experience for the students,” Westjohn said when asked about how she expects the students to do this year. She stated that another goal of the trips is to give students opportunities to visit college campuses and try for scholarships, tuition waivers, and gift cards. Miss Westjohn also noted that EIU (Eastern Illinois University) once held a similar event, but no longer does.
When asked about the future of the accounting challenges, Westjohn stated there are no plans for changes, “But budgets and the State of Illinois being broke could impact it.”