Teens from Riverside/Ohio Hi-Point Represent Ohio at LifeSmarts Competition


Riverside seniors got down to business as they competed on behalf of Ohio last week in San Diego. Students who are part of the Riverside Business program that is offered through the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center’s satellite pathway traveled to California to compete in the 2024 National LifeSmarts Championship. Sam King, Ava Klingler, Jailyn Leeper, Kristina Plank, and Gage Stevenson ambitiously took on this national competition that they won, and that earned them the invitation to compete in San Diego as THE Ohio team.

Business teacher and advisor, Lindsay Wyan, stated that these students were self-motivated in not only the technical aspects of the competition but also the fundraising efforts as well. This was a precedent-setting trip for these students and as such Ohio Hi-Point Career Center school funds were not able to be used. With travel costs of $6,000, the students knew that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would take a lot of quick fundraising as well as intense preparation during an already busy time.

As a result of this win, Riverside competed in the 30th National LifeSmarts Championship held April 18 -21 in San Diego where 48 teams competed. In addition to daily competitions, the students took advantage of their west coast trip and advisor Wyan and many students took to surfing for the first time.

“It is not just about the competition that makes student trips so vital and priceless,” according to Wyan, “It is the fact that so many of the students (and, even me, as an advisor) take a step outside of their comfort zone – literally outside the solid ground of Logan County – and take advantage of experiences that are simply not available in everyday life.”

“These seniors are incredibly hard-working and dedicated to their education,” Wyan said. “They not only have put our program on the LifeSmarts map, but they have also already qualified for and are raising funds to go to Chicago for BPA – a career tech student organization in which these students have excelled in since they became part of the program.

According to the LifeSmarts alumni and development manager Elena Robertson, the organization was thrilled to welcome the five Riverside seniors as the representatives for the state of Ohio. These Riverside students, affectionately referred to as “The Squad”, earned the highest honor in Ohio through testing and was selected as THE one Ohio team to travel to California to compete nationally against all other state teams. LifeSmarts, the nation’s premier consumer program, has never been more relevant. Entering its 30th year, LifeSmarts provides real-world education for students who learn about core consumer topics and develop critical thinking skills. Participants focus on five key topic areas: consumer rights and responsibilities, the environment, health and safety, personal finance, and technology. The goal of LifeSmarts is to create consumer savvy young people who will be well equipped for adult life in today’s complex, global marketplace.

LifeSmarts, a consumer education and life skills competition that challenges teens about personal finance, health & safety, the environment, technology & workforce preparation, and consumer rights & responsibilities, is a program of the National Consumers League (NCL).

In 30 years, LifeSmarts has educated more than 1.7 million students about core consumer topics, helped students develop critical thinking skills, and provided state and national leadership opportunities. LifeSmarts students also give back through a variety of community service projects.

“LifeSmarts participants are able to learn about consumer topics such as the tell-tale signs of fraud, OTC medicine safety, their credit scores, and much more. Too often, traditional high school curriculum fails to teach students vital information to become successful adults, and LifeSmarts helps to close that gap” said Sally Greenberg, CEO of NCL, a Washington, DC-based national nonprofit watchdog organization.