Seminole 4-H Wins State Lifesmarts Championship

Randall Weiseman Florida, General


TALLAHASSEE – (FDACS, February 23, 2009) – A five-member team of homeschooled high school students from Sanford won the State LifeSmarts Championship held recently at the Florida State Fair in Tampa.

Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson was on hand to congratulate the winning team and to offer praise to all of the competing teams. The state winning team and its coach will receive a check for $4,100 from the Department to defray expenses to the national competition, scheduled for April 25-28 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Shelda Wilkens of Seminole County 4-H served as the team’s coach and Jasmine Samuels served as the co-coach. Team members are Zack Cole, Gabrielle Samuels, Hunter Gair, Stephanie Morris, and Amanda Alvarado.

LifeSmarts, the ultimate consumer challenge, is an educational program that challenges students in grades 9-12 about personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology and telecommunications, and consumer rights and responsibilities. LifeSmarts competitions are held in individual states across the U.S. and the state winners vie for the national title. The competitions are run in a game show style and open to all teens.

“LifeSmarts teaches teens to be smart and responsible consumers,” Bronson said. “Students gain meaningful knowledge and confidence to participate in today’s marketplace. I encourage students, club members and teachers from across the state to participate in the Internet competition when the
opportunity becomes available again in September 2009.”

Bronson supports the LifeSmarts program because he says it helps teens become better decision makers and savvier consumers.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state sponsor of LifeSmarts. The Department is the state’s lead agency for consumer issues and regulates various industries, such as motor vehicle repair shops, health studios, telemarketers, business opportunities and
charitable solicitors. It also operates as the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints and maintains the Consumer Helpline 1-800-HELPFLA (1-800-435-7352).

The national coordinating group for the LifeSmarts program is the National Consumers League (NCL). Founded in 1899, the league is a national non-profit organization that identifies, protects, represents and advances the economic and social interests of consumers and workers through education
and advocacy. NCL operates LifeSmarts and works in partnership with other nonprofit government and education groups in the states. Community-minded businesses, associations and government agencies provide the financial support to make LifeSmarts available free of charge to students nationwide.

The Florida online competition — which involved nearly 60 coaches with over 440 students from public and private high schools, FFA and 4-H clubs, and home schools — ran continuously from September 1, 2008, until January 9, 2009. The Seminole 4-H students competed against students from 12 other
teams during the state competition.

The 13 teams that competed for the state title were:
— Baker School, Baker
— Don Klein Jewish Academy, Boca Raton
— Duval County 4-H, Jacksonville
— Eustis High School, Eustis
— Fort Myers High School, Fort Myers
— Moore Haven High School, Moore Haven
— Paxon School for Advanced Studies, Jacksonville
— Seminole 4-H, Sanford
— Sheridan Hills School, Hollywood
— Sneads High School, Sneads
— Timbercreek High School, Orlando
— Tenoroc High School, Lakeland
— Universal Academy, Tampa

To learn more about the LifeSmarts competition, contact Gwen Worlds,
Florida LifeSmarts coordinator, at (850) 410-3702. visit the LifeSmarts web site at