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Congratulations Dragons: MW wins Governor’s Challenge in Economics

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Winning team at Governor's Challenge

Governor Ralph Northam today announced the winners of the 2019 Governor’s Challenge in Economics and Personal Finance. More than 3,000 high school students from across the Commonwealth participated in an online competition, and 160 students were invited to the day-long championship event held April 11th at Capital One in Richmond.

“A strong foundation in personal finance and economic literacy empowers young Virginians to be smart consumers and equips them with the high-demand skills necessary to fully participate in our 21st-century workforce and contribute to our growing economy,” said Governor Northam. “This challenge gives Virginia students an opportunity to apply their classroom learning, make informed decisions, and gain a deeper understanding of economic concepts. I am proud to recognize this year’s winning student teams and their teacher advisors.”

Maggie Walker’s four-student team, consisting of Alex Nikolov (’19-Henrico), Kevin Ren (’20-Chesterfield), Aashri Aggarwal (’19-Henrico), and Richard Zhai (’20-Henrico), competed against 15 teams, including 9 teams from Northern Virginia high schools.  To be invited to the state finals, all teams took online tests and the regional winners (including Maggie Walker) and other high scoring teams were then invited by the Virginia Council on Economic Education to the state finals competition. 

Following a series of tests, the Maggie Walker team and a team from the Thomas Jefferson Science and Technology high school were the two top-scoring teams.  The two teams then met in a “quiz bowl” contest in front of an audience of the other contestants, teachers, and guests from universities and from the Federal Reserve Bank.  The questions were difficult and covered a variety of topics in economics and current events.  Maggie Walker won the quiz bowl competition, beating Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, and was named the state champion.  (This was especially gratifying since Maggie Walker’s team lost to Thomas Jefferson in the state finals competition last year and became the state runner-up.) 

The next step is the National Economics Competition, which is in New York City the weekend of May 18-20.  The Maggie Walker team is now a semi-finalist and will take proctored tests at the school on Wednesday, April 17th.  The results will be compared against semi-finalists from other states.  If successful, Maggie Walker’s team and their teacher, Dr. Oreska, will be one of only eight teams who are invited to the National Economics Competition championship in New York. 

Overall, the winners include:

David Ricardo Division (Economics)

  • 1st Place: Lafayette High School, Williamsburg-James City County, Teacher: Jodi Consoli
  • Runner Up: Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, Multi-divisions (Chesterfield area), Teacher: Emily Hardesty

Adam Smith Division (Advanced Economics)

    • 1st Place: Maggie Walker Governor’s School, Multi-divisions (Richmond area), Teacher: Julius Oreska
    • Runner Up: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax County, Teacher: Malhaz Jibladze

Personal Finance Division

  • 1st Place: Rappahannock County High School, Rappahannock County, Teacher: Linda Petty
  • Runner Up: Amherst County High School, Amherst County, Teacher: Segar Jordan

“These outstanding students and their dedicated teachers exemplify Virginia’s longstanding commitment to high quality economic and personal finance education,” said Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “This knowledge helps Virginians access and strengthen economic opportunities and to pursue a productive, quality life.”

The Governor’s Challenge is conducted in partnership with the Virginia Council on Economic Education (VCEE), a nonprofit organization focused on enhancing the quality of K–12 economic and financial education in Virginia.

“I congratulate the winning teams, their teachers and all of the participants in the 2019 Governor’s Challenge,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “The challenge is a great opportunity for students to demonstrate how they are meeting the expectations of the Profile of a Virginia Graduate as consumers, savers, investors, entrepreneurs and citizens.” 

Capital One provided financial support for and hosts the Governor’s Challenge championship event. The Virginia Lottery sponsored the Teachers’ Luncheon at the event.  

To learn more about the Governor’s Challenge and other efforts to promote support economic and financial education for Virginia’s students, visit