CRYSTAL LAKE – More than 150 high school accounting schools students flexed their mental muscle as they tested their numerical competence and problem-solving skills at McHenry County College’s 11th annual High School Accounting Bowl last week.
Eight county high schools participated in the event, which was divided into two levels, Accounting 1, geared for first-year accounting students and Accounting 2, for those completing two years of high school accounting.
The students took a one-hour long paper and pencil test that included true-false and multiple-choice questions. Students also participated in a scavenger hunt to find classrooms and student support offices at the college. The students also heard guest speaker, MCC alumna Laura Weise, CPA, who works as a senior manager for Ernst & Young, LLP, in Chicago. Weise, 28, of Park Ridge, earned an associate degree from MCC in 2003 and transferred to Judson University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Weise gave students career advice during her presentation. “One thing I would like students to remember is to be prepared and take advantage of opportunities no matter what field they go into,” she said.
In the teams category, Crystal Lake South High School and Alden-Hebron High School each won first place in Accounting 1 and Accounting 2, respectively. Miles Freedenburg of McHenry High School and Erick Finke of Harvard High School both won first place in their accounting level and each received a $250 certificate toward tuition, fees and/or bookstore supplies at MCC.
Other awards in Accounting 1 teams: McHenry, second place, Harvard, third, followed by Alden-Hebron, fourth and Marengo, fifth. In Accounting 2 teams: Harvard, second and Marengo, third.
In Accounting 1, individual winners: Miles Freedenberg, McHenry, first place; Brian James Frericks, Crystal Lake South, second; Eric Johnson, Alden-Hebron, third; Tate Miller, Harvard, fourth; and Brandon Madoni, Crystal Lake South, fifth. Accounting 1 finalist awards: Kaitlyn Vollmert, Phil Magnelli, Joe Rutkowski, David Lisk, all of Crystal Lake South and Ian Stricker of Harvard High School.
Other awards in Accounting 2 teams: Harvard, second place and Marengo, third place. Accounting 2, individual winners: Erick Finke, Harvard, first place; Brianna Olson, Alden-Hebron, second place; Kaytee Marsala, Johnsburg, third place; Nicolas Opie, Marengo, fourth place; and Ian Johnson, Alden-Hebron, fifth place.
In the Semester One category, Alden-Hebron won the team trophy and Jesse Brown, also of Alden-Hebron, was the individual winner.
“It was a good time. The test was really hard. I learned that there’s still a lot I don’t known,” said Brian Frericks, Crystal Lake South senior.
“It’s fun meeting other accounting students from other schools,” said Randi Blazier of Harvard High School, who won first place in last year’s individual category.
Jordan Fox, senior from Johnsburg, agreed. “I like meeting new people and finding out what their favorite parts of accounting are, including arguments on plant assets and land assets.”
Johnsburg classmate Chris Brown, a sophomore, summed up the importance of accounting by saying, “If we could all practice accounting, there would be no wars because every country would have enough economic wealth and no need to fight.”
“This event is the highlight of the students’ year. It’s something fun they look forward to. I use it as a motivational tool because I bring my best students,” said Karyn Burmeiser, accounting teacher at McHenry High School. “The guest speaker gives students an insight into a real world accounting experience.”
Teresa Eick George, accounting teacher from Alden-Hebron, shared a similar comment, “It’s awesome. Students look forward to it all year. They like the competition.”
Don Curfman, instructor of accounting at MCC, said this event is a way to honor, reward and encourage outstanding high school accounting students. “I am very proud that accounting students are able to display their trophies next to the sports trophies at their local high schools. I look forward to seeing many of them attend MCC and volunteer to run future Accounting Bowls,” he said.