Top accounting students from seven area high schools flexed their mental muscles to showcase their numerical ability and problem-solving skills at McHenry County College’s 17th annual High School Accounting Bowl.
A total of 99 students were divided into two levels: Accounting 1, which included first-year accounting students, and Accounting 2, including those who have completed two years of high school accounting. The students took a one-hour written test that included true/false and multiple-choice questions that challenged their knowledge of the balance sheet, current assets and liabilities, and many other accounting principles.
Alden-Hebron captured first place in the Accounting 1 team category, followed by second-place finisher Woodstock High School and third-place finisher Harvard High School. Marengo and Woodstock North high schools finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
In the Accounting 2 category, Harvard High School won first place, followed by Marengo in second place.
Alden-Hebron won the T-shirt design contest. The back of the team’s hot pink shirts had the wording “We’re the LIFO the party.”
Individual winners in Accounting 1 were Morgan Baldwin, first place, Alden-Hebron; Anna Webber, second place, Alden-Hebron; Madison Baldwin, third place, Alden-Hebron; Albert Hernandez, fourth place, Woodstock; and Garrett Swan, fifth place, Woodstock. Finalists were Hunter Grantz, finalist No. 1, Harvard; Quinn Thornton, finalist No. 2, Woodstock; Tanner Hurless, finalist No. 3, Woodstock; Natalia Bernal, finalist No. 4, Harvard; and Jeannie Korczak, finalist No. 5, Harvard.
Individual winners in Accounting 2 were Reid Stricker, first place, Harvard; Ruby Galarza, second place, Harvard; Franky Lopez, third place, Harvard; Aaron Moehrlin, fourth place, Marengo; and Josh Streu, fifth place, Marengo.
MCC accounting instructor Don Curfman, who founded the program 17 years ago, is retiring from teaching next month. He was honored with a plaque during the Accounting Bowl awards ceremony.
“It’s a wonderful program,” Curfman said. “The high school teachers are phenomenal with their support. This year’s scores are higher than last year, with only nine points separating the No. 1 and the No. 10 finishers.”
Curfman noted that 10% of area high school accounting students who enroll at MCC after graduation take college-level accounting classes. He said MCC accepts a full year of high school accounting classes as credit for MCC’s Basic Accounting (ACC110) course, and students with two years of high school accounting may get credit for MCC’s Financial Accounting (ACC151) class.
Students also listened to keynote speaker Woodstock High School alum Nick Butler, who works as a financial analyst at Charter Dura-Bar in Woodstock. He shared his educational and work experiences and provided tips about how to launch a career in accounting.
“As much as college will teach you what skills you need, the work experience is just as important as coursework,” he said, encouraging students to seek out internships.
Harvard High School accounting teacher Kathleen Grimm said her students look forward to the Accounting Bowl all year long.
“They work hard and look forward to the competition,” Grimm said. “It’s one of the first questions I get asked at the beginning of the year.”