Hundreds vie for bragging rights, scholarships at SIU’s Accounting Challenge


Accounting challenge – More than 300 high school and community college students from across the region participated recently in the 22nd annual Accounting Challenge. Along with individual quizzes, students took on teamwork challenges of building the tallest tower and moving different-sized balls along a course using guttering. (Photos by Russell Bailey)

Just how high could they go?

Who could construct the tallest freestanding tower using a meager handful of supplies? More than 300 students from 22 area high schools and community colleges took on that test and others at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s 22nd annual Accounting Challenge recently.

Prizes and scholarships at stake

Sponsored by the School of Accountancy in the College of Business and Analytics, the event featured both individual and team competitions and participants who were vying for trophies, certificates and scholarships. The day began with individual written accounting quizzes. Those earning the highest scores in each division won certificates and scholarships worth up to $500 if they attend SIU Carbondale and major in accounting.

Winning individuals

Listed by division, the winners of the individual contest in each category, along with their schools and potential scholarship earnings each can claim, were:

Accounting I – High School

  • First place – Sean Rhodehamel, O’Fallon Township High School, $500.
  • Second place – (tie) Carl Brown, Jack Peterson, Jacob Knaust and Noah Reed, O’Fallon Township High School; Olivia Buza, Pinckneyville Community High School, $300.
  • Third place – (tie) Ayden Campbell and Chase Fischer, Centralia High School; Jay Streit, O’Fallon High School; Kailey Lacy, Pinckneyville Community High School, and Logan Korte, Massac County High School, $250.

Advanced Accounting II – High School

  • First place – (tie) Dizaha Berry, Marion High School; Harlan Brooks, Centralia High School, $500.
  • Second place – Rayne Niederhofer, Centralia High School, $300.
  • Third place – (tie) Kyle Seabaugh and Lonnie Tucker, Jackson High School; James Zimmerman, Centralia High School.

Community College

  • First place – Johnathan Crouse, John A. Logan College, $500.
  • Second place – Clayton Berger, John A. Logan College, $300.

Accounting challenge – More than 300 high school and community college students from across the region participated recently in the 22nd annual Accounting Challenge. Along with individual quizzes, students took on teamwork challenges of building the tallest tower and moving different-sized balls along a course using guttering. (Photos by Russell Bailey)

Teams faced multiple challenges

The participants actually tackled two unique challenges during the team competition, conceived by Larry Busch, an emeritus SIU School of Art and Design faculty member.

Their first goal was to build the tallest tower they could in a short amount of time with just paper, string, a paper plate and use of a pair of scissors. But, the completed tower also had to be strong enough to remain with a plastic cup balanced on top. The winning tower stood more than six feet tall – a remarkable sight.

Then it was time to see how well they could work together to solve a problem. Working in groups of three and using just pieces of guttering, they had to plant their feet and yet move a series of balls, ranging in size from a golf ball to a kickball, across a 15-20-foot-long course. Teamwork, strategy and a lot of effort came into play. There were plenty of gasps of frustration, laughs and shouts of encouragement as different tactics were used in accomplishing the goal.

The winning teams

The winners of the team competition, listed by division, along with the names of the team members and schools they are from, were:

Accounting I – High School Team

  • First place – O’Fallon Township High School Team #93: Brayden Hartmann, Gabe Thomas, Jack Peterson, Noah Reed.
  • Second place – O’Fallon Township High School Team #92: Briana McMinn, Jackson Winker, Jacob Knaust, Sean Rhodehamel.

Accounting II – High School Team

  • First place – O’Fallon Township High School Team #91: Jacob Brown, Jada Bui, Neha Patel, Rakia Blue.
  • Second place – Centralia High School: Brooks Harlan, James Zimmerman, Rayne Niederhofer.

Community College

  • First place – John A. Logan College: Clayton Berger, Johnathan Crouse, Kyle Ranchino.

SIU students coordinate the competition

Dozens of SIU accounting student volunteers played a large role in assuring the 2020 Accounting Challenge was successful. They planned and staged the event, which drew participants from nearly 100 miles away.

The event coordinators, with their majors and hometowns were:

  • Emily Hillis, a senior accounting student from Jacksonville.
  • McKenzie Mohring a Masters of Accountancy student from West Frankfort.
  • Rachel Perez, a junior accounting major from Carpentersville.

Creating interest

The Accounting Challenge accomplishes several things, organizers say. It provides a fun, rewarding experience to hundreds of high school and community college students from across the region while highlighting SIU and its accounting program. As participants vie for prizes and scholarships, they also get a chance to explore careers in accounting and see how SIU and the College of Business and Analytics could set their course toward the future they want.

The participants received a T-shirt to commemorate Accounting Day 2020.

You May Also Like

Saluki Pride: Rita Medina connects with students to help them succeed

Rita Medina has had various roles since arriving on campus seven years ago, and her ability to “connect with students and dedication to being there through every step in their college journey is impressive,” notes Taylor Bennett, assistant director of communications with undergraduate admissions. Medina, an academic adviser in the College of Engineering, Computing, Technology and Mathematics since September 2021, said she “enjoys the opportunity to interact more with students one-on-one and hear about their personal experiences at SIU.”

Saluki Pride: Artist and professor Jiyong Lee uplifts his students to excel in life after college

Artist and professor Jiyong Lee spends his days in the School of Art and Design assisting students with glass sculptures. While teaching at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he has been asked to be a visiting artist at several institutions across the world where he taught workshops, including the University of South Australia, Domaine de Boisbuchet in France, Fire Station Artists’ Studios in Ireland, and more.