Dallas High School team from Pennsylvania wins 2024 National LifeSmarts Championship

April 24, 2024

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – Pennsylvania’s Dallas High School students were crowned the 2024 National Varsity LifeSmarts Champion in San Diego, California, this past Sunday, April 21. Coached by Kevin West, the Pennsylvania team consisted of Captain Marie Popielarz, Artem Smagin, Kareem Almeky, Riley Dewey, and Mahi Dohl.

Joining them in the final match was the Selah Gold FCCLA team from Selah, Washington. Members of the Washington team were Captain Hannah Christianson, Macie Ladd, Indiana Hilmes, and Hannah Rees, with Jeff and Dania Cochran serving as their coaches.

Rounding out the final four teams were the Crosby High School Bulldogs from Connecticut and the Country Clovers 4-H team from Delaware 4-H.

This year’s competition marked the 30th anniversary of LifeSmarts, the youth consumer education program of the National Consumers League. Forty-seven student teams—consisting of 230 students—traveled from across the country to compete over four days at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina in San Diego.

“This year’s Nationals was special because we are celebrating 30 years of the LifeSmarts program, with this year’s event being our largest competition to date,” said LifeSmarts Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “I want to congratulate all the teams and their coaches who came to San Diego to compete, learn from each other, and have fun. Congratulations to this year’s winning team from Dallas High School in Dallas, Pennsylvania!”

LifeSmarts is an education and scholarship program run by the Washington, DC-based National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy organization. It competitively tests junior high / middle school, and high school student’s knowledge of five topic areas including consumer rights and responsibilities, personal finance, health & safety, technology & workforce preparation, and the environment in online and in-person competitions using a quiz bowl-style format. LifeSmarts is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and in partnership with student leadership programs such as 4-H BPA, FBLA, FCCLA, and SkillsUSA.

Each student on the first-place team received a $1,500.00 scholarship; second-place team members received $1,000.00 scholarships; and third-place team members received $750 scholarships. Team members who placed fourth received gift cards.

Teens from each of the 47 teams represented at Nationals also competed as individuals, and the top-scoring student in each LifeSmarts topic received a $500 scholarship from NCL. The 2024 winners are:

  • Consumer Rights and Responsibilities: Maria Huck, West Virginia
  • Environment: Artem Smagin, Pennsylvania
  • Health and Safety: Martaja Powell, Alabama
  • Personal Finance: Blake Sullivan, Missouri
  • Technology and Workforce Preparation: Jeremiah Hawley, Wyoming

Coleman Mangham from Varsity Wild Card 1 (Tift County 4-H, Georgia) and Shelby Brewer from Massaponax High School in Virginia were awarded co-LifeSmarts Students of the Year. They each received $100 Amazon gift cards.

Winning recognition as LifeSmarts Coaches of the Year were Ginger Walters from Massaponax High School and Sahvanna Mease from Calhan High School Colorado. Both coaches received $100 Amazon gift cards.

LifeSmarts State Coordinators of the Year were awarded to Mary Hillmann of Minnesota, and Kay Johnson and Tammie McCarthy, both from Wisconsin.

The Sarah Weinberg LifeSmarts Memorial Scholarship, given each year to a student who demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to community service, was awarded to Marie Popielarz from Pennsylvania.

Many LifeSmarts teams entered the anti-counterfeiting digital poster contest, sponsored by Amazon. Winners of the digital poster contest were: School Without Walls, District of Columbia; Buffalo High School FBLA, Wyoming; Calhan High School Varsity, Colorado; Sweepstakes Team 3, Blair Oaks High School, Missouri; West Chicago High School, Illinois; JCHS FCCLA, Kansas; Tift County 4-H, Georgia; Sweepstakes Team 2, West Feliciana High School, Louisiana; Sweepstakes Team 4, Larimer County 4-H, Colorado; and Riverside High School / Hi-Point Career Center BPA, Ohio. Each team received a $100 cash prize.

Winners in the identity theft essay contest were Kyle Bakhsh – Sweepstakes Team 1 (Cobb County 4-H, Georgia); Parker Bennett – Sweepstakes Team 4 – Louisiana; Allie Higgins – Idaho;  Maria Huck – West Virginia, and Kristina Plank – Riverside High School/ Ohio Hi-Point Career Center BPA . Each received a $1,000 scholarship, courtesy of Norton.

Kenvue sponsored scholarships that were awarded to five students who excelled in educational and outreach efforts in OTC medicine safety. Winners were Alex Piscane, Florida; Chloe Doiron, Sweepstakes Team 2, West Feliciana High School Louisiana; Kyle Bakhsh, Sweepstakes Team 1, Cobb County 4-H, Georgia; Mahi Dohl, Dallas High School, Pennsylvania; and Natalie Rodriguez, Econoponax, Massaponax High School, Virginia.

The top teams in the TikTok/Instagram videos on OTC medicine safety garnered praise from the contest’s judges and were recognized with achievement certificates. The schools recognized were:

  • Sweepstakes 4- Colorado, Larimer County 4-H, Colorado
  • School Without Walls, Washington, DC
  • Gordon County 4-H Varsity, Georgia
  • Junction City High School FCCLA, Varsity WC 3, Kansas
  • John Marshall High LifeSmarts for Life, West Virginia
  • Minidoka County 4-H, Teal Taters 4-H Varsity, Idaho
  • Litchville-Marion High School, The Money Hounds, North Dakota
  • Dallas High School, Pennsylvania
  • Benton County 4-H, Norton WC 2, Arkansas
  • Pryor High School Tigers, Oklahoma
  • Blair Oaks High School Team Falcon, Sweepstakes Team 3, Missouri
  • Tift County 4-H, Varsity WC 1, Georgia

The LifeSmarts Team Spirit Award went to Odessa High School FBLA from Missouri. The team demonstrated outstanding camaraderie and great sportsmanship throughout the four-day championship.

Awards for best t-shirt design, Instagram contest, and meme and pin design were also announced. The best meme went to Francis Marion FBLA, Alabama. The People’s Choice t-shirt winner was JCHS FCCLA, Kansas and the LifeSmarts team t-shirt award went to West Virginia’s John Marshall High School. The Instagram contest winner was Odessa High School, Missouri. The inaugural LifeSmarts pin design contest was won by Gracie Erichsen of Junction City High School FCCLA, Kansas, and Landon Rourke and Layson Ferguson of West Feliciana High School, Louisiana.

“Students who come to Nationals are some of the most dedicated and competitive students in the country. Their knowledge of consumer topics is vast, which is commendable because that is the goal we set for the LifeSmarts program—to be well-informed consumers,” said NCL Chief Executive Officer Sally Greenberg. “The information they acquire through this program will help them become savvy and well-informed consumers.”

Sponsors of the 2024 National LifeSmarts Championship were Amazon, Kenvue, Norton, Discover, Tide, FICO, Comcast Universal, Melaleuca, AARP, Bayer, JP Morgan Chase, American Express, Washington State Employees Credit Union, and Zillow.

At Sunday’s closing ceremony, NCL announced that Chicago, Illinois will be hosting the 2025 National LifeSmarts Championship next year.

To learn more about NCL’s youth consumer education program, visit LifeSmarts.

Photos from the 2024 National LifeSmarts Championships can be found here.

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About the National Consumers League (NCL)

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

Celebrating 30 years of educating youths on consumer topics, NCL’s LifeSmarts program heads to San Diego for its annual national competition

April 17, 2024

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – The 30th National LifeSmarts Championship, the youth consumer education program of the National Consumers League, kicks off tomorrow, Thursday, April 18, at Hyatt Mission Bay in sunny San Diego, California. The four-day annual event hosts students from across the United States competing for prizes while showcasing their knowledge of real-life consumer issues that focus on the five content areas: personal finance, consumer rights, technology and career readiness, health and safety, and the environment.

Each year, LifeSmarts competitors answer more than 3.5 million consumer questions about credit reports, recycling, nutrition, social media, state lemon laws, and everything in between. Students are quizzed on their knowledge of these subject areas during online competition. Top-performing teams then advance to statewide competitions, and state champion teams—as well as several wildcard teams—advance to the national championship held each year in a different American city.

This year’s competition in San Diego is set to be the largest event for the 30-year-old program—with 47 teams and 230 students from across the U.S. vying for prizes and the coveted championship title. Along with the students, 79 coaches and 80 volunteers will be joining the four-day event.

Last year’s competition—held in Cincinnati, Ohio—was won by the Maryknoll Spartans from Maryknoll High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, a first win for the Aloha State.

Visit the 2024 National LifeSmarts Championship for more information.

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About the National Consumers League (NCL)

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

NCL celebrates 30 years of LifeSmarts, recognizes its lifelong partners at annual Spring Soiree

February 28, 2024

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – NCL celebrates the 30th anniversary of its LifeSmarts program at the National Press Club in Downtown Washington, DC, on Wednesday, February 28. LifeSmarts is the organization’s national consumer literacy program that gives young people in middle and high school the necessary skills to become successful adults, preparing them to be informed consumers and workers.

“We want this evening to celebrate 30 years of this incredible program and honor our partnership with four wonderful organizations that have made LifeSmarts the extraordinary program that it is today,” said NCL CEO Sally Greenberg.

Receiving NCL’s LifeSmarts Lifetime Partnership Award were Steven Mitchell, Executive Director and CEO of Business Professionals of America (BPA); Alex Graham, President and CEO of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA); Sandy Spavone, Executive Director of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA); and Chelle Travis, Executive Director of SkillsUSA.

The program also included LifeSmarts Advisory Board member Molly Alawode of Kenvue, a longtime partner of LifeSmarts, and Andrew Harris, Director of Public Policy at Amazon, which has also been a major supporter of LifeSmarts.

“I want to congratulate all our LifeSmarts Lifetime Partnership Award honorees,” said Lisa Hertzberg, LifeSmarts program director. “We are honored to work with each of them and we appreciate the opportunities to have partnered with them and make a difference in the lives of so many youths.”

For more information on this year’s event, visit the 2024 Spring Soiree.

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About the National Consumers League (NCL)

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

NCL urges Senate committee to pass the College for All Act

August 28, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, 202-823-8442

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Consumers League (NCL) urged the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance to favorably report the College for All Act of 2023.

The National Consumers League1 (NCL) urges the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance to favorably report S.1963, or the College for All Act of 2023, without delay. The College for All Act would transform the nation’s system of higher education by allowing millions of students to pursue college degrees that they otherwise could not afford. Additionally, it would prevent student debt from continuing to burden future attendees of higher learning, a significant issue currently affecting graduates, individuals with partial educational attainment, and parents of students.” 

The full letter can be found here.

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About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

National Consumers League Live Event Ticketing Principles

By John Breyault, Vice President, Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud

The ticketing industry is the gatekeeper to much of our nation’s arts, sports and culture. What should be an exciting moment—securing a seat for your favorite event —has become exceedingly frustrating for many consumers as they navigate a confusing ticket-buying process laden with hidden fees.

NCL works on behalf of fans for all live events to ensure that consumers get the best possible experience, the best bargain for their hard earned dollars and don’t feel they’ve been ripped off with gotcha added costs, like mandatory “convenience fees” “processing fees” “venue fees” or the like when purchasing live event tickets.

Consumers are at the mercy of a rigged ticket marketplace. One company – Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) — dominates the marketplace. The company was created after Ticketmaster and Live Nation were given the green light to merge by the Department of Justice in 2009, despite strong consumer and business opposition.  LNE today controls around 80% of primary ticketing services, owns or has exclusive rights to operate many venues, and has major positions in artist management and event promotion. In 2022, LNE reported $4.5 billion in revenue from ticket resale, more than double what it earned in 2019, making it one of the largest players in the secondary ticket market.

Not surprisingly, LNE engages in practices typical of monopolies, working to drive out competitors. NCL and other consumer groups are leading the charge to unwind the ill-advised 2009 merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster and restore healthy competition to the marketplace.

NCL believes that ticket resale has a legitimate place in the live event marketplace. The availability of ticket resale services provides a hedge for consumers who buy season tickets or non-refundable tickets, and is also a source for ticket buyers to get bargains when supply outpaces demand, allowing them to save money on below-face value tickets.

Below are some general principles on ticketing that NCL supports.

  1. We want the DOJ and Congress to unwind the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger.
  2. Hidden ticket fees, deceptive dark patterns, and other anticompetitive ticketing practices should be prohibited. “All in” ticket pricing should be required so that consumers can compare prices from one site to another.
  3. Ticket holdbacks (also known as allocations) should be disclosed to ticket buyers prior to purchase.
  4. Secondary ticket exchanges should be required to disclose the face value of tickets offered for sale on their platforms.
  5. Ticket resellers should be prohibited from engaging in deceptive practices that are deliberately intended to confuse consumers into believing they are buying tickets from the primary seller. Deceptive design practices such as using URLs or other indicia of affiliation with a venue, team, or artist and by paying for search engine optimization that results in resale websites appearing higher in search results than the official box offices should be prohibited.
  6. Secondary ticket exchanges should be required to closely monitor their ticket inventory to ensure that they are not listing tickets obtained in violation of federal or state laws.
  7. All stakeholders in the live event industry should be required to assist enforcement agency’s efforts to stop illegal automated ticket buying and resale.
  8. Federal or state law enforcement agencies should investigate how tickets appear on the secondary ticket market at prices far above face value before offered for sale by primary ticket sellers and whether such sales violate applicable laws.

To these ends, NCL has endorsed legislative reforms to protect ticket buyers and promote competition in the live event industry, such as the BOSS and SWIFT Act and the TICKET Act.

What’s going on with student debt cancellation?

By Eden Iscil, Public Policy Manager

A few weeks ago, the US Supreme Court ignored the facts of the case in front of them and wrongfully ruled that President Biden’s first attempt at cancelling student debt was illegal. While the Court was misguided and seemingly hellbent on making life worse for millions of Americans, debt cancellation is not dead. Earning much less media coverage than the Court’s ruling, President Biden announced on that same day that his Department of Education had initiated a plan B for debt cancellation. Additionally, he revealed a 12-month “on-ramp” to repayment. Here’s what we know so far about these two programs. 

Plan B for cancelling student debt 

Over the past 60 years, Congress passed two laws giving the secretary of education the authority to cancel student debts—the Supreme Court’s ruling last month only applied to one of them. While there is still one more legal avenue available for the Education Department to broadly cancel student debt, the law requires a lengthy regulatory process to get there. Specifically, the department must initiate a negotiated rulemaking, seeking input from various stakeholders involved in student debt. From nominating and appointing negotiators to reaching a final recommendation for the Department, this stage will likely finish around the end of the year. 

Next, the Department will have to publish a proposed rule outlining the parameters of the debt cancellation plan. Currently, the administration has not spoken to how much debt will be cancelled under plan B and who will be eligible beyond an intention to deliver “debt relief for as many borrowers as possible.” This means that we shouldn’t expect to see the details of plan B until early 2024. And once the Department publishes its proposal, there will be a 60-90 day comment period for the public to submit their thoughts on the plan. Only after this comment period is finished (and the Department has read the public’s thoughts) can the program go into effect. Once all of these steps are completed, it will likely be around springtime next year at the very earliest. 

A 12-month “on ramp” to repayment 

Congress set September 30 as the last day of the federal loan payment pause. Without some form of debt cancellation, it is estimated that repayment will put over 9 million borrowers into default. Recognizing this reality and its legal inability to extend the current payment pause thanks to Congress, the Department will waive certain repayment related penalties from October 1, 2023 through September 30, 2024. 

Specifically, during this year-long period, missing a monthly federal loan payment: 

  • Will not result in default or delinquency 
  • Will not be reported to credit bureaus 
  • And will not be referred to debt collection agencies 

While both plan B and the 12-month on ramp are imperfect, the Department is taking steps to minimize harm and is still working to deliver debt relief. It’s important that we continue to show our support for debt cancellation, especially during the public comment period. We should not tolerate an educational system that results in lifelong debt and average monthly payments of $500. 

From class action to mass arbitration: Exposing corporate evasion in modern commerce

Sally Greenberg

By Sally Greenberg, Chief Executive Officer

July 6, 2023: Several decades ago, clever lawyers for large corporations came up with a scheme to prevent their clients from being held accountable for wrongdoing. They did so by putting “forced arbitration clauses” in consumer and business contracts. The effect was to block consumers and others from getting access to the courts, and instead force them into arbitration, which is a private system for deciding legal cases that is controlled largely by the corporation itself.

It was a sad day for consumers when the Supreme Court gave its blessings to this underhanded scheme; today forced arbitration clauses are put into virtually every contract that we as consumers are forced to sign in exchange for services like cable, cell phone, credit cards, mobile homes, and car sales.

Class action lawsuits have served as a critical safeguard for consumers against powerful corporate interests; they remain an essential pillar of corporate accountability. These collective legal battles help to restore consumer rights and maintain marketplace ethics. Landmark cases such as the Enron scandal, which highlighted fraudulent accounting practices, class actions against the makers of addictive opioids and against those responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill illustrate again the power of collective legal action.

But now, as consumers are fighting back and cleverly using forced arbitration in their favor, corporate America is crying foul. The very companies that championed forced arbitration and blocked class actions don’t much like it when they have a taste of their own medicine.

According to Consumer Reports, for example, a new strategy, mass arbitration, has already had a significant impact. It has pressured several corporate defendants—including Uber, DoorDash, Samsung, Chipotle, and DraftKings—to grapple with accusations they otherwise could have swatted away. And it reportedly led at least one corporate giant, Amazon, to remove mandatory arbitration provisions altogether from its retail website’s terms of use.

According to the magazine, a group of enterprising lawyers representing about 40,000 TurboTax customers employed a kind of legal jiujitsu: They simultaneously filed thousands of arbitration claims, swamping Intuit with fees, prompting the company into a hasty retreat. But it was too late for the company: Several judges have refused to let Intuit out of the arbitrations, with one commenting that the company has been “hoisted by [its] own petard.”

Sadly, the companies are nevertheless employing delaying tactics, exploiting loopholes, and resisting the system they once endorsed and in fact created, all of which points to the need for an overhaul of the system.

Recent arbitration reforms in California offer a glimmer of hope. They champion a justice system built on fairness, transparency, and accountability. Reforms must tackle forced arbitration clauses and corporations from exploiting system vulnerabilities and face strict penalties for stalling or refusing to engage with the system they created.

As consumers, employees, and members of society, we must insist on corporate transparency and accountability; giving consumers a fair shake is more important than ever. Only then can we end corporate evasion, restore balance in our dispute resolution processes, and protect individual consumer rights against corporate wrongdoing.

2023 Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge winners

May 16, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, 202-823-8442

Washington, DC —Today, the National Consumers League (NCL) announced the winners of its twelfth annual Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge, an eight-week intercollegiate competition among health profession student teams and faculty to combat poor medication adherence in the United States, where nearly three out of four patients do not take their medication as directed.

The Challenge, hosted by NCL, returns to university campuses across the country to encourage student competition and innovation. “The Team Challenge was first established in 2011 to nurture adherence-minded values in future generations of health professionals. Since its launch, the campaign has supported close to 2,000 community health events, engaged over 60,000 healthcare providers, and reached 27.5 million consumers and counting. We are very proud of the contribution this effort has made to the public health of all consumers,” said NCL Chief Executive Officer, Sally Greenberg.

This year’s winners are:

  • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) School of Pharmacy,
  • Temple University School of Pharmacy,
  • Western University School of Health Sciences,
  • University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, and
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.

2023 Medication Adherence Team Challenge Winners

National Award Winner: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (LECOM) 2023 Script Your Future efforts were centered around Wellness, Adherence, Lifestyle, and Knowledge (WALK). LECOM students and faculty designed community service events in collaboration with various healthcare professionals across pathways (Erie, Bradenton, Distance Education) and programs (pharmacy, medical, and masters). The unified message promoted the importance of medication adherence, chronic disease state management, reducing disease stigma, smoking cessation, safe drug disposal, and OTC medication safety. To kick off 2023 Script Your Future, a healthcare pledge affirming the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork in improving patient outcomes was distributed and 223 current and future healthcare professional signatures were received. Overall, 817 educational materials were distributed in-person to 260 individuals. Social media, print, and broadcasting efforts reached an estimated 279,360 individuals. Overall, LECOM’s Script Your Future was a successful and impactful campaign that consisted of 159 volunteers, correlating to 273 hours of community service contributed throughout 23 service events that reached 279,779 individuals.

Under-Represented Community Outreach Award Winner: Temple University

Temple University’s main initiative this year was a community baby shower. Students got together and sought donations for diapers, wipes, baby clothes, diaper bags, strollers, car seats, baby bottles, and pacifiers, and advertised the event throughout social media to expectant mothers in the North Philadelphia community. Students connected with larger Philadelphia organizations to get the word out and have expecting mothers register for the event. The event was a great success! There was a panel on general women’s health and gestational diabetes to educate the expecting mothers and students created pamphlets on gestational diabetes and pediatric vaccinations. During the event students displayed safe drug disposal posters and educated the mothers on the importance of keeping medications in places where children and pets cannot reach them. The team was able to help over 50 expectant mothers in the North Philadelphia community.

Media & Communications Award Winner: Western University

In addition to creating TikTok videos, Western’s 2023 team recreated its website with a new, cleaner interface that is easier to use among every age group. A new tinyurl link (www.tinyurl.com/amcphealthhelper) and QR codes to link to the website were created, along with infographics for a variety of chronic diseases. The infographics were visually appealing and easy to read. Additionally, the infographics about COVID-19, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more were available to view in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Korean. For this year, the team provided a new translation for its infographics in Tagalog because there is a significant number of Filipino patients within the community. Visitors were able to download these infographics in each language for personal use, all infographics were available in these languages. By informing patients about their disease states, the students were able to help them understand why it is important to continue adhering to their medications. In addition to efforts to promote the TikTok videos and website, the team also collaborated with local pharmacies including Owl Pharmacy, Holt Pharmacy, Ontario Pharmacy, ABC Pharmacy, and Costco Pharmacy in distributing Script Your Future wallet cards. A total of approximately 2,000 wallet cards were distributed, including 1290 in English, 347 in Spanish, 142 in Vietnamese, and 80 in Mandarin.

Interprofessional Award Winner: University of Charleston

The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (UCSOP) took a broad approach to interprofessional collaboration and included students studying political science and public health. These students were onsite during the West Virginia Rural Health Day and WVA Pharmacy Day at the Capital events. Political Science students were able to give advice to pharmacy students on presenting material and information to legislators and state leaders. Students focused efforts on increasing community influence around the importance of healthy lifestyles, medication adherence, and the confidence in vaccines. To broaden the effort further, the University of Charleston Nursing Program, University of Charleston Athletic Trainers and Exercise Undergraduates, along with various undergraduate students who could share knowledge on health topics participated in various events. In addition to UC associates, the team collaborated with several community partners, such as the West Virginia Pharmacists Association, West Virginia Rural Health Association, West Virginia Collegiate Recovery Network, American Foundation for Suicide Awareness, The American Heart Association, Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, and West Virginia local and state representatives. In working with these organizations, the team was able to broaden the number of community members influenced by its campaign efforts.

Technology Innovation Award: University of Pittsburgh

The Pitt Pharmacy team created innovative technologies where students had the ability to learn about cardiovascular emergencies in real time. Students ran simulations with simman. This “patient” can have a range of health concerns, from a heart attack to atrial fibrillation. Students learned how cardiac disorders are treated and performed simulations as instructors for future pharmacy students. In addition, student organizations hosted events with virtual reality technology where students could “treat” patients for these cardiovascular events.

Owen Hott, a student involved in the University of Pittsburg technology committee, stated, “As the head of the technology and innovation committee, Script Your Future was a great experience that allowed me to work with new people, come up with awesome ideas, and to play a part in a national campaign to empower patients. Part of my future goals as a pharmacist is to make sure that patients are as knowledgeable about their own health as their health providers. It’s all too often that I see issues that could have been avoided if anyone had spent the time to teach patients about their conditions rather than just sending them off with their medications, and I’m glad I was able to contribute to the cause!”

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About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization.  Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.  For more information, visit nclnet.org.

Team from Hawaii wins its state’s first National LifeSmarts Championship

May 2, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Photos from the 2023 National LifeSmarts Championships can be found here.

The team from Maryknoll School in Honolulu, Hawaii, was crowned the 2023 National LifeSmarts Champion in Cincinnati, Ohio, this past Sunday, April 30. In 29 years of LifeSmarts competition this is the first-ever win for The Aloha State.

The all-senior team, coached by Kit U Wong, competed against Dallas High School from Dallas, Pennsylvania, in the championship match. The 2023 members of the team from Hawaii include: Captain Chris Ho, Adam Nelson, Maddi Agustin, Kaitlyn McLeod, and Benson Leung.

Joining Hawaii and Pennsylvania in Sunday’s semifinal matches were teams from Georgia and Rhode Island. Teams from the District of Columbia, Kansas, Washington, and Wisconsin all made it to the top eight.

Forty-two student teams traveled from across the country to compete over four days at the iconic Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza in Downtown Cincinnati.

“This year’s Nationals, like past competitions, were riveting,” said LifeSmarts Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “Each year, teams from across the United States come ready to compete, learn from each other, and enjoy their time together. We are thrilled for Team Hawaii’s first ever-win. Congratulations to the Maryknoll Spartans!”

“I commend all of the students who competed hard and demonstrated such a breadth of consumer knowledge,” continued Hertzberg. “They are the best and brightest from across the country, and they should all be proud of their accomplishments.”

LifeSmarts is an education and scholarship program run by the Washington, DC-based National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy organization. It competitively tests high school students’ knowledge of consumer awareness, with subjects including personal finance, health and safety, consumer rights and responsibility, technology and workforce preparation, and the environment. LifeSmarts is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and in partnership with student leadership programs such as 4-H, BPA, FBLA, FCCLA, SkillsUSA. and others.

Each student on the first-place team received a $1,500.00 scholarship; second-place team members received $1,000.00 scholarships; and third-place team members received $750 scholarships. Team members who placed fourth received gift cards.

Teens from each of the 42 teams represented at Nationals also competed as individuals, and the top-scoring student in each LifeSmarts subject received a $500 scholarship from NCL. The 2023 winners are:

  • Consumer Rights and Responsibilities: Lucas Carver, Pennsylvania
  • Environment: Hannah Christianson, Washington
  • Health and Safety: Marie Popielarz, Pennsylvania
  • Personal Finance: Mahi Dohl, Pennsylvania
  • Technology and Workforce Preparation: Chris Ho, Hawaii

Natalie Keller from Selah High School in Washington State and Gabe Laster from Norton Wild Card 9 from Lebanon, Missouri, were awarded co-LifeSmarts Students of the Year. They each received $100 Amazon gift cards.

Winning recognition as LifeSmarts Coaches of the Year were Tina Steinert from Kansas, Dave Handt from Varsity Wild Card 4 from North Dakota and Bea Roberson from Oklahoma  All three LifeSmarts coaches received $100 Amazon gift cards.

LifeSmarts State Coordinator of the Year was awarded to Brittani Lee, Georgia State Coordinator, who has been a devoted advocate for LifeSmarts for many years, growing the state program and seeing four teams from Georgia advance to this year’s National LifeSmarts Championship.

The Sarah Weinberg LifeSmarts Memorial Scholarship, given each year to a student who demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to community service, was awarded to Kaitlyn Johnson of Delaware.

NCL’s partnership with UL Standards & Engagement has elevated the issues surrounding counterfeit products. Winners of the Be Safe Buy Real digital poster contest were Bianca Murphy from Colorado, Kianna Siebert from Minnesota, Marie Popielarz, Caiden Brown from Texas, Aminah Ali from Texas, Jesse Peddycord Contreras from Varsity Wild Card 4 in North Dakota, Samuel Steele from Kansas, and Jesse Taylor from Kansas. Bailey Bennett and Anunya Madhavaraman—both from Georgia—were JV (middle school) winners. Each recipient received a $100 cash prize.

Winners in the Norton Identity Theft essay contest were Kaitlyn Johnson, Reyna Brown Muhammad from Alabama, Joe Rutledge from Georgia, Allie Higgins from Idaho, and Alison Thompson from Wisconsin. Each received a $1,000 scholarship for their winning essays providing solutions to identity theft.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. sponsored five scholarships which were awarded to students who impacted their communities with presentations and social media campaigns about OTC medicine safety. Winners were Emma Bayer of Norton Wild Card 2 in Georgia, Bryan Cabrera Icte from Delaware, Luis Felipe del Solar from Louisiana, Seth Moon from Georgia, and Kianna Siebert.

The LifeSmarts Team Spirit Award went to Calhan High School. The team from Colorado demonstrated outstanding camaraderie and great sportsmanship throughout the four-day championship.

The social media awards for most engaged on Instagram and our new meme contest were very popular among the students. The best meme went to Alyssa Harmon from Norton Wild Card 8. The Instagram winners were Amelia Gindorf from Arizona, Jada Sturdivant from Alabama and Autumn Negen from the Norton Wild Card 8 team. Each team also created a t-shirt and votes for the People’s Choice were collected on Instagram with that award went to the Washington team. The judge’s selections were Alabama and Oklahoma.

Sponsors of the 2023 National LifeSmarts Championship are as follows:

Platinum: Amazon, Johnson & Johnson Consumers Inc., Norton

Gold: Discover, Tide

Silver: Comcast, FICO, Melaleuca, Meta, P&G, Toyota

Bronze: American Express, JPMorgan Chase, UL Standards & Engagement, WSECU

At Sunday’s closing ceremony, NCL also announced that the 2024 National LifeSmarts Championship, which marks the program’s 30th anniversary, will take place in San Diego, California.

To learn more about LifeSmarts, visit www.lifesmarts.org.

About LifeSmarts

LifeSmarts is a comprehensive consumer education program that is free to middle school and high school students and educators. The goal of the LifeSmarts program is to create consumer-savvy young people who will be better equipped for adult life in today’s complex, global marketplace. Visit LifeSmarts.org for more information. LifeSmarts: Learn it. Live it.

About the National Consumers League (NCL)

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit nclnet.org.

Cincinnati to host 2023 National LifeSmarts Championship event April 27-30

Apr 25, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin, melodym@nclnet.org, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC — The 29th National LifeSmarts Championship, the youth consumer education program of the National Consumers League, kicks off this Thursday, April 27, at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, a National Historic Landmark in downtown Cincinnati. The four-day annual event hosts students from across the United States competing for prizes while showcasing their knowledge of real-life consumer issues that focus on the five content areas: personal finance, consumer rights, technology and career readiness, health and safety, and the environment.

Each year, LifeSmarts competitors answer more than 3.5 million consumer questions about credit reports, recycling, nutrition, social media, state lemon laws, and everything in between. Students are quizzed on their knowledge of these subject areas during online competition. Top-performing teams then advance to statewide competitions, and state champion teams—as well as several wildcard teams—advance to the national championship held each year in a different American city.

This year’s competition in Cincinnati will feature 42 teams representing 30 states and the District of Columbia, 14 wild card teams, and 28 state champions. NCL is also pleased to announce the special initiative to bring 10 teams from Title 1 schools to this year’s championship.

Click here for more information on this year’s National LifeSmarts Championship.

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About LifeSmarts
LifeSmarts is a comprehensive consumer education program that is free to middle school and high school students and educators. The goal of the LifeSmarts program is to create consumer-savvy young people who will be better equipped for adult life in today’s complex, global marketplace. Visit LifeSmarts.org for more information. LifeSmarts: Learn it. Live it.

About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit nclnet.org.