Byline: Jean Hockensmith
On the first day of economics class last January, Willowbrook High School seniors Richard Aycock, Brian Damitz, Mike Kite and John Tadelski were surprised when teacher Joy Joyce administered a test to the entire class.
"She said it didn't matter, but apparently it did for us," said Mike, a gymnast, wrestler, National Honor Society member and Human Relations Award recipient. "Ms. Joyce told us we had higher test scores going in (to the class) than the majority of the people going out. She began giving us handouts in class."
Mike, Richard, Brian and John had the four top test scores in their economics class, thus drafting them as the Willowbrook Economics Team. The team persevered in a five-state regional competition May 7 to win the Seventh Federal Reserve District Econ Challenge in the real-life division.
"I thought the multi-state one was easier. We had experienced it before," said John, a one-year tennis team member, National Honor Society member and four-year math team member.
The experience that brought the team to the multi-state competition was winning the Illinois Econ Challenge held in April. This was the fourth time a Willowbrook team had won the state competition, and the second time the school had won the regional competition.
"My AP (advanced placement) kids won it (regional competition) last year in the theory category, and this year my regular students won it in the real world category," Joyce said. "I've been here 29 years, but teaching economics probably since 1979. It's kind of become my passion."
Brian, a four-year gymnast who competed at …