After four exciting days of individual assessments, group activities, and team buzzer matches, the Paxon School for Advanced Studies from Jacksonville, Florida outlasted 38 other teams from around the country to claim the title of LifeSmarts champion in the annual national competition. This year’s championship in Atlanta was the biggest competition ever, featuring teams from 35 states, the District of Columbia, and two student organizations, FCCLA and FBLA.
LifeSmarts is a national competition that tests teens around the country on their consumer knowledge. There are five areas of focus including: personal finance, health and safety, consumer rights and responsibilities, the environment, and technology. LifeSmarts not only gives high school students a chance to demonstrate their consumer acumen, but also provides an opportunity to learn about issues that will prove useful in the real-world. As LifeSmarts participants progress through high school, they will be armed with the practical knowledge needed later in life to protect themselves and their finances.
This year’s competition featured a new collaboration with Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) called the Safety Smart! Ambassador Program. The Safety Smart! program gives LifeSmarts students the opportunity to reach out to younger students in the community and teach them lessons about health and safety. These lessons feature a curriculum that teaches young children the benefits of going green and being healthy and fit. Older students have an opportunity to reach out to the elementary school students and gain important life skills such as leadership, public speaking, and the importance of advocacy in the community.
Rhode Island’s entrant, Barrington High School, finished the competition in second place. Dallas High School from Pennsylvania and the Coffee County 4-H school from Tennessee finished tied for third. All participants at the national competition, over 200 students, took an individual assessment in a category of their choice and winners in each received special recognition. The winners were: personal finance, Steven Cotter (FL); health and safety, Isaac Mades (WI); consumer rights and responsibilities, Gates Palissery (PA); the environment, Jack Caljouw (MA); and technology, Ryan Jerue (RI).
This year also marked our first ever Twitter contest. The Twitter competition served as a tool to increase buzz around the national competition and many students, coaches, parents, coordinators, and spectators participated. Three winners were selected for demonstrating both quality and quantity in what was tweeted during competition. The winners were: Alicia Heis (IN), Kennnedy Langton (FBLA), and Tshala Pajibo (DC).
NCL is very excited to announce that next year’s 20th annual national competition will be held in Orlando, Florida. Teams representing every corner of the country from Hawaii to Washington to Maine participated in this year’s event and we believe our ultimate goal of inviting a team to our national competition from all 50 states is within reach. Educators, financial institutions, attorneys general, governmental organizations, and others see the benefits of the LifeSmarts program and continue to invest in educating the next wave of consumers. Knowledge is power, and consumer knowledge gives students the power to avoid financial pain and make healthy, intelligent life decisions. To find out more about the LifeSmarts competition please see our Web site. To see the LifeSmarts students in action, check out our photo album from this year’s competition.