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.

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.

LifeSmarts announces expanded partnership with Discover® Student Loans

April 3, 2023

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

During Financial Literacy Month, LifeSmarts, a teen consumer literacy education program, is expanding lessons to help high school students prepare to get the most out of their post-secondary education.

Washington, DC – The 29th National LifeSmarts Championship is on the horizon for the National Consumers League’s (NCL) youth consumer education program. Through LifeSmarts, students learn about real-life consumer issues and compete to win prizes and scholarships at the National LifeSmarts Championship in April each year. To highlight the start of Financial Literacy Month in April, NCL is proud to announce an expansion of lessons on financial aid and financing a post-secondary education and a new lesson about choosing a college major, made possible by Discover Student Loans.

From April 27-30, 2023, high school students from across the country will meet in Cincinnati, OH, to compete in the annual event. The competition takes place over four days during which students will showcase their knowledge of personal finance topics, as well as consumer rights, technology and career readiness, health and safety, and the environment.

LifeSmarts prepares students for life after high school, including guiding students to consider post-secondary education options, and understanding how their choices will impact their readiness for the careers they wish to pursue. LifeSmarts is active in all states and the District of Columbia, where NCL is headquartered.

Thanks to this partnership with Discover Student Loans, LifeSmarts is expanding upon financial aid lessons created in 2022 and featuring student loan questions throughout the National Championship. In addition, next fall a new lesson will help high school students choose a college major using tools available via the website College Covered. CollegeCovered.com was created by Discover Student Loans to provide students, parents and high school counselors with the know-how to plan and pay for college. The website offers a variety of resources and tips for each step of the college planning process.

“We are pleased to work with Discover Student Loans to help our students learn about all aspects of post-secondary education,” said National Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “We are especially gratified to expand our educational materials to help students consider their own path and the coursework that will set them up for future success.”

Last year, students answered more than 3.5 million consumer questions about financing post-secondary education, credit reports, nutrition, social media, and everything in between. More than 110,000 students used LifeSmarts materials in their classrooms and extracurricular activities.

“Each year, LifeSmarts brings new opportunities for high school students to learn invaluable information to prepare them for life beyond high school,” says NCL President Sally Greenberg. “Too often, traditional high school curriculum fails to teach students vital information to become successful adults, and LifeSmarts helps to close that gap with lessons that now include choosing a college major.”

“Our expanded partnership with LifeSmarts allows them to add more real-world lessons addressing important topics like financing a college education,” said Nicole Straub, Senior Vice President for Discover Student Loans. “Having a better understanding on how to pay for college sets students and their families up to make smarter financial decisions for their future.”

Discover Student Loans also offers a scholarship opportunity for students and parents. Throughout the year, 12 eligible students or parents will be randomly selected to win a $5,000 Discover Student Loans Scholarship Award to help cover college expenses. Students and parents can click here to enter to win this $5,000 scholarship. Drawings held monthly. No purchase or loan necessary to enter or win.

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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.

LifeSmarts announces partnership with FICO

During Financial Planning Month, LifeSmarts, the National Consumers League’s teen consumer education program, has introduced a new lesson focused on credit scores and establishing credit.

October 3, 2022

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, D.C.— The National Consumers League’s (NCL) youth consumer education program, LifeSmarts, kicked off its 29th year in September 2022. Through LifeSmarts, students learn about real-life consumer issues and compete to win prizes and scholarships at the National LifeSmarts Championship in April each year. October is both Financial Planning Month and the month in which LifeSmarts students focus on personal finance. To kick off the month, NCL is proud to announce a new lesson about credit scores and how to establish credit, made possible through support from FICO and the FICO® Score, the credit score used by 90% of top lenders.

Beginning today, the 125,000 students and 3,000 educators from across the country who participate in LifeSmarts will have access to lessons and activities from FICO’s new Score A Better Future (SABF) Fundamentals program, a credit education curriculum developed for high school students. These lessons will provide students with a firm understanding of credit scores and how to establish and maintain good credit histories throughout their lives.

Thanks to the FICO SABF Fundamentals program, LifeSmarts has created a new lesson on credit scores, with questions that will be featured throughout competition, culminating with the National LifeSmarts Championship in April 2023. New lessons and competition questions are being integrated into the 2022-23 program year.

“We are pleased to work with FICO to help our students and educators learn more about credit reporting and credit scores,” said National Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “LifeSmarts gives students the skills they need to succeed as adults, and we see students applying what they learn immediately at home and in their communities. We are thrilled to offer this focus into a critical aspect of personal finance, and we look forward to rolling out new resources for educators and opportunities for student participants.”

LifeSmarts is active in all states and the District of Columbia, where NCL is headquartered.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to focus on personal finance for consumers at this age when they are beginning to make decisions for themselves and influencing decisions made by their parents,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of NCL. “Too often, traditional high school curriculum fails to teach students vital information to become successful adults, and LifeSmarts helps to close that gap.”

“Financial literacy is vital because it’s the foundation to helping students make smart decisions when they navigate their financial futures,” said Joanne Gaskin, vice president of Scores and Analytics at FICO. “Our team created Score A Better Future Fundamentals program to provide valuable free credit education that readies young adults to confidently take control of their financial health.”

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About LifeSmarts

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 https://nclnet.org.

About FICO

FICO is a leading analytics software company, helping businesses in 90+ countries make better decisions that drive higher levels of growth, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

Learn more at http://www.fico.com.

Cumberland Valley High School team from Pennsylvania takes 2022 National LifeSmarts Championship in Washington, DC

April 26, 2022

Contact: National Consumers League, Katie Brown, (202) 207-2832, katie@nclnet.org

Washington, DC—The Varsity Wild Card 2 team from Cumberland Valley High School coached by Anne Marie Miller, was crowned the 2022 National LifeSmarts Champions in Washington, D.C. last week. In a close match against the team from Montgomery High School in New Jersey, the teens from the Cumberland Valley High School outplayed their opponents in an exciting end to the four-day competition.

2022 Team members include: Captain Anaya Kurup, Owen Reeves, Zade Elamir, David Cameron, and Derek Works. New Jersey finished in second place, and teams from Idaho and Wisconsin tied for third.  Fourth place team honors went to state champions from North Carolina, Arizona, Washington, and Varsity Wild Card 1 from North East High School in Pennsylvania.

“We are so proud of these students from Pennsylvania, this is the first time a Wild Card team has taken the championship,” said LifeSmarts Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “They played hard and demonstrated their consumer smarts throughout the four-day event. They are true LifeSmarts champions.”

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 programs with student leadership programs FBLA, 4H, FCCLA and SkillsUSA.

Each of the students on the first place teams receives a $1,500.00 scholarship, second place team members receive $1,000.00 scholarships and third place team members receive $750 scholarships.

Fourth place team members received gift cards.

Teens from each of the 38 champion teams represented at nationals competed as individuals, and the top five scorers received scholarships from NCL. This year’s winners were:

The 2022 winners in the Individual Category Assessments receiving a $500 scholarship were:
Environment: Catherine Feng from New Jersey
Personal Finance: Lucas Carver from Pennsylvania
Health and Safety: Julissa Freeman from Alabama
Consumer Rights and Responsibilities: Kyle Kintz from Pennsylvania
Technology and Workforce Preparation: Grace Ren from New Jersey

Clayton Adams from 4-H Wild Card team 1 from Madison County 4-H in Georgia, and Melissa Fraga from Florida’s Leto 4-H Gold team were honored as the 2021-2022 LifeSmarts Students of the Year.

LifeSmarts Coaches of the Year Awards went to Linda Huebner from FCCLA Wild Card 3 in Bartlett, Texas and Greg Henning of Varsity Wild Card team 1, North East High School in Pennsylvania.

Kim Edmonds from Virginia was named LifeSmarts State Coordinator of the Year.

Co – state coordinator of the year is Cherry Dale, Virginia Credit Union – Financial Education Director.

The Sarah Weinberg Memorial Scholarship, given each year to a student who demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to community service, was awarded this year to Sadie Heckert of Neligh Junior/Senior High School from Nebraska.

Johnson & Johnson Over the Counter Medication Mentor $1000 scholarships were awarded to students who participated in the health and safety-related youth mentoring program sponsored by LifeSmarts and Johnson and Johnson. Honorees were: Wheaten Smith from Arizona, Alyssa Goldman from Madison County 4-H in Georgia, Alexis Johnson from SkillsUSA Wild Card in Wyoming, Abigail Olstrup from Texas, and Angie Jacobo from Illinois.

The UL Be Safe Buy Real Digital Poster contest winners were: Jackson Miller, Arizona; Gabrielle Alljets, Colorado; Alex Runyan form Georgia; Sean Slattery from Illinois; Miles Flack from Minnesota; Levi Frisbie from Missouri; Aspen Busby from Texas; Abigail Olstrup from Texas; Michaela Joy Patterson from Texas; and Max Butler from Virginia.

NortonLifeLock Identity Theft Essay Contest winners were Julissa Freeman from Alabama, Sara Abernathy from Georgia, Alison Sporleder from Missouri, Tommy Wild from North Carolina, and Suzette Mejia from SkillsUSA Wild Card in Wyoming.

The Spirit of LifeSmarts Team Award, in honor of the late North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, was awarded to Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas.

Seventy graduating seniors were presented with LifeSmarts Honor Cords to wear at their upcoming high school graduations and were welcomed as new LifeSmarts alumni. Additionally, several alumni assisted in various roles throughout the event.

Many teams competed in the February TeamSmarts Capstone quiz. Each of these teams earned a $100 cash award for their high scores.
The Varsity winner is Tescott High School in Kansas; the FBLA winner is UDHS_GormanBroker from Upper Dublin Senior High School in Pennsylvania; the FCCLA winner is Thedford High School FCCLA in Nebraska; and the 4-H winner is WYSIWYG from Hnerico County 4-H in Virginia.

Teams from 12 states submitted designs for this year’s t-shirt contest. This year’s judge’s awards went to 4-H Wild Card 3 – Columbia County 4-H from Georgia, Indiana, and the the People’s Choice t-shirt award went to Washington.

Missed the excitement? You can still watch the exciting final day of competition here.

All winners at the national LifeSmarts Competition received valuable prizes donated by sponsors to the National Consumers League, including scholarships, savings bonds, gift cards, and more.

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About LifeSmarts and the National Consumers League

LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League. State coordinators run the programs on a volunteer basis. For more information, visit: www.lifesmarts.org, email lifesmarts@nclnet.org or call the National Consumers League’s communications department at (202) 835-3323.

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 www.nclnet.org.

LifeSmarts announces partnership with Discover® Student Loans  

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, katie@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

During Financial Literacy Month, LifeSmarts teen consumer literacy program has introduced a new lesson focused on financing a college education and understanding student loans.

March 31, 2022

Washington, DC– The 28th National LifeSmarts Championship is on the horizon for the National Consumers League’s (NCL) youth consumer education program. Through LifeSmarts students learn about real-life consumer issues and compete to win prizes and scholarships at the National LifeSmarts Championship in April each year. Tomorrow, April 1, is the start of Financial Literacy Month. To commemorate this month, NCL is proud to announce a new lesson about financing a college education, made possible through financial support from Discover Student Loans.

On April 21, 39 teams from across the country will meet in Washington, DC, to compete in the 2022 National LifeSmarts Championship.  The Championship competition takes place over four days in which students will showcase their knowledge of personal finance topics as well as consumer rights, technology and workforce preparation, health and safety, and the environment.

Thanks to Discover Student Loans, LifeSmarts has created a new lesson on financial aid, with questions that will be featured in the National Championship. In the fall, the lessons and new competition focus will be fully integrated into the program for the new school year. Students and educators will see a concentration on personal finance topics at both the 2022 and 2023 National LifeSmarts Championships.

“We are so pleased to work with Discover Student Loans to help our students learn more about the important subject of paying for post-secondary education,” said National Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “We know LifeSmarts gives students the skills they need to succeed as adults, and we see students applying what they learn immediately at home and in their communities. We are thrilled to be able to give special focus to the most crucial lessons in personal finance, and we look forward to rolling out new resources for educators and opportunities for student participants.”

Last year, students answered more than 3.5 million consumer questions about credit reports, nutrition, social media, and everything in between. More than 100,000 students will participate this year.

LifeSmarts is active in all states and the District of Columbia, where NCL is headquartered. “We are excited to have the opportunity to focus on personal finance for consumers at this age, when they are beginning to make decisions for themselves and influencing decisions made by their parents,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of NCL. “Too often, traditional high school curriculum fails to teach students vital information to become successful adults, and LifeSmarts helps to close that gap.”

“It’s important that students and their families plan and save for college expenses, pursue free financial aid such as grants and scholarships, and understand the options for federal and private student loans,” said PK Parekh, senior vice president of Discover Student Loans. “We are very happy to work with LifeSmarts to help students learn through real-world lessons about personal finance, financial aid, and responsible borrowing.”

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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 https://nclnet.org.

LifeSmarts consumer literacy program launches 2021-22 season with new online learning, scholarship, and community service opportunities for teens

Millions of student leaders have gained real-world knowledge through the program’s 27 years of education and competition

September 13, 2021
Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242

Washington, DC—Today marks the official launch of the 2021-2022 season of LifeSmarts, a national scholarship competition and educational program for middle-school and high-school students that tests knowledge of real-life consumer issues and is helping to create a future generation of consumer-savvy adults. A new season of LifeSmarts goes live online at LifeSmarts.org today. LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League, the nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy watchdog.

“We are very excited to launch this season of LifeSmarts,” said Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “For more than a quarter century, LifeSmarts has given students the skills they need to succeed as adults. We’ve seen more than 1.5 million students gain knowledge, confidence, leadership capabilities, and team-building skills. The competition is fun, and the impact of LifeSmarts is life-long.”

As our nation’s education institutions continue to evolve in response to the pandemic, LifeSmarts has evolved as well, offering tools to meet the needs of instructors whether they are teaching inside a classroom or remotely.

“No matter what modality schools are using, LifeSmarts has resources for educators and parents to use during this unique time,” said Hertzberg. “Developing smart and successful citizens, workers, and consumers is always our mission, and we’re here to help students and educators meet the challenges imposed by COVID-19.”

LifeSmarts focuses on five main content areas:

  • consumer rights & responsibilities
  • personal finance
  • technology & workforce prep
  • health & safety
  • 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.

The 2022 National LifeSmarts Championship is scheduled to take place in Washington, DC, April 21-24, 2022, where State Champion and Wild Card teams will meet to compete for the national title. Last year’s competition was held virtually.

In addition to online, state, and national competitions, LifeSmarts recognition and awards occur throughout the program year:

Teams of students vie for cash prizes in the online TeamSmarts quiz, which focuses on a specific LifeSmarts content area each month from September through February.

Classroom mentor programs: Five $1,000 scholarships are awarded each winter to winning LifeSmarts students who become LifeSmarts OTC Medicine Safety Mentors to educate younger students and community members about medicine safety. LifeSmarts thanks Johnson & Johnson for underwriting this important community service project.

Partnering with FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), 4-H, and FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America), LifeSmarts complements these organizations’ projects, judging events, competitive events, and activities. LifeSmarts offers special opportunities for members of these student leadership organizations.

LifeSmarts is active in all states and the District of Columbia.

“We are proud of the impact LifeSmarts has made entering its 28th  year educating teens, and we are excited to continue to grow the LifeSmarts program, to educate students about financial literacy, and to create a new generation of savvy, market-ready consumers and workers,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Too often traditional high school curriculum fails to teach students vital information that will be crucial once students go to college, get their first job, or move out of their parents’ house.”

In addition to hosting the official LifeSmarts competition, LifeSmarts.org provides resources for educators to supplement existing lesson plans. These include daily quizzes, educational videos, lessons, focused study guides, and scholarship opportunities. LifeSmarts lessons closely align with courses taught in family and consumer sciences, business, technology, health, and vocational education. Math and English teachers have also had success with LifeSmarts, as have homeschool and community educators.

Major LifeSmarts contributors include: Amazon, American Express, Intuit, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Melaleuca, NortonLifeLock, Toyota, Underwriters Laboratories, Western Union, and WSECU, along with a number of state and local sponsors.

Visit LifeSmarts.org for more information.

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About LifeSmarts

LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League. State coordinators run the programs on a volunteer basis. For more information, visit: LifeSmarts.org, email lifesmarts@nclnet.org, or call the National Consumers League’s communications department at 202-835-3323.

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 www.nclnet.org.

Student teams from North Dakota, Kentucky take national honors at LifeSmarts consumer literacy competition 

April 20, 2021

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org(412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org(202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—Students from Jamestown, ND, and Webster County, KY were crowned the 2020 and 2021 National LifeSmarts Champions at a virtual event held this weekend, concluding today with very competitive nail-biting final match-ups. Jamestown High School beat out Dallas High School from Dallas, PA, for the 2020 title; Webster County was victorious over the team from Central Academy of Technology and Arts in Monroe, NC. 

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 the environment. LifeSmarts is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and in partnership programs with student leadership programs FBLA, 4H, and FCCLA. 

“We are so proud of these students from North Dakota and Kentucky, who represented their state programs with class and pride to take the championship,” said LifeSmarts Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “They played hard and demonstrated their consumer smarts throughout the three-day event. They are true LifeSmarts champions.” 

Consumer-savvy teens representing 30 states, the District of Columbia, and 11 wild card teams, competed at the event. Throughout the 2020-2021 program year, more than 100,000 teens competed online for a chance to represent their states at the 2021 National LifeSmarts Championship. Players answered more than 3.5 million consumer questions in the online competition. 

The 2020 and 2021 National LifeSmarts Champions and other winning teams walked away with prizes and $50,000 in scholarships. 

2020 Winners
National Champions: Jamestown High School, Jamestown, North Dakota, coached by Marchel Krieger
2nd Place: Dallas High School, Dallas, Pennsylvania
3rd Place: Iola High School, Iola, Kansas and Barrington High School, Barrington, Rhode Island 

2021 Winners
National Champions: Webster County 4-H, Webster County, Kentucky, coached by Wade Raymer
2nd Place: Central Academy of Technology and ArtsMonroe, North Carolina
3rd Place: TWCA Club in Poolesville, Maryland and East Greenwich High School, East Greenwich, Rhode Island  

Teens from each of the nearly 60 champion teams represented at nationals competed as individuals, and the top five scorers received scholarships from NCL. This year’s winners were: 

2020 Individual Winners
Environment: Clement Hilty from Rhode Island
Personal Finance: Kareem Morsy from Pennsylvania
Health and Safety: Owen Sheff from Rhode Island
Consumer Rights and Responsibilities: Garret Wright from North Dakota
Technology and Workforce Preparation: Jarron Larson from North Dakota

2021 Individual Winners
Environment: Om Desai from Maryland
Personal Finance: Kylie Fung from California
Health and Safety: Rhett Huebner from Texas
Consumer Rights and Responsibilities: Wyles Gilfoil from Louisiana
Technology and Workforce Preparation: Yifan Zhao from California 

Of the Year Awards
Andrew Gryskewicz from Dallas High School in Dallas, PA, and Lily Martin from Webster County 4-H in Kentucky were named the 2020 and 2021 Students of the Year. Scott Neu (Wisconsin) and Sharon Rash (Oklahoma) were named LifeSmarts Coaches of the Year. 

Long-time State Coordinator Crystal Kraft, from North Dakota, earned the Coordinator of the Year honor. Kraft’s program was the only one in the country to hold an in-person state competition this year. 

The Sarah Weinberg Memorial Scholarship, given to students who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to community service, was awarded to Sophie Merka from Georgia. 

For team photos, event schedules, grid standings, and more, log on to https://lifesmarts.us2.pathable.com/ 

NCL thanks the sponsors who make the program possible including Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, Melaleuca, Toyota, American Express, Intuit, and the Washington State Employees Credit Union. 

All winners at the national LifeSmarts Competition received valuable prizes donated by sponsors to the National Consumers League, including scholarships, gift cards, and fun swag items. To learn more about the program, contact NCL’s Lisa Hertzberg at (202) 835-3323. 

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About the National Consumers League and LifeSmarts

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 www.nclnet.org.

LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League. State coordinators run the programs on a volunteer basis. For more information, visit: www.LifeSmarts.org, email LifeSmarts@nclnet.org, or call the National Consumers League’s communications department at (202) 835-3323.