Students from Rutgers Preparatory School in Somerset, N.J. and Mt. St. Mary Academy in Watchung, N.J. have taken home close to $20,000 in cash awards and a trip to Washington D.C. for their knowledge about the Euro against the backdrop of the global financial and economic crisis.

Five teams were left standing on the final day of the intense competition which tested their smarts on issues such as ballooning government deficits to rising unemployment.

But ultimately, Rutgers Prep stood stronger.

Mt. St. Mary Academy in Watchung, N.J. came in second.

The Euro Challenges was launched by the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States in 2006 with 10 schools participating from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. This year, a total of 76  high school teams with 11 states participated in the Euro Challenge competition. Throughout the school year, teachers and students attend seminars provided by the European Commission and its partner organizations. Participants research the EU’s economy and each team has selected to focus on one of the euro area countries.

On the trip to Washington D.C., the students will visit the Delegation of the European Union, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund.