Thursday, April 24, 2008

LifeSmarts Smile Show online!

We've posted the official 2008 National LifeSmarts Championship smile show on our site! Click here to see the awesome pdf - team photos, competition shots, and general craziness and fun!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Interview with Arizona Champs

Our friends at NextGenWeb have posted an interview with the new 2008 National LifeSmarts Champions on their site.

LifeSmarts on YouTube! We've made it to the big time!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Shhh! LifeSmarts staff is sleeping!

What a fun LifeSmarts National Championship event! Minneapolis was a fantastic host city, and we were thrilled to have 29 state champion teams travel to the Twin Cities, braving the threat of winter weather, to compete for the national title. We are so proud of all you guys and grateful to the coaches, coordinators, volunteer officials, awesome guest speakers, and our generous sponsors for making this program a success!

In the next day or two, we'll post a link to the 2008 National Champion slide show, which has some beautiful -- and sometimes hilarious -- images capturing the four days of fun at the Millennium Hotel. In the meantime, post or send us your stories and photos from nationals. We want to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Arizona Takes the Title!

The Flagstaff Home Educators from Arizona have defeated Illinois' West Chicago Community High School in the 2008 National LifeSmarts Championship!

Introducing the 2008 National LifeSmarts Champion team:

Flagstaff Home Educators
Jennifer Bearchell, coach
Jan Robison, co-coach
Zach Schierl, captain
Reanna Toenjes
Emily Bearchell
Jake Robison
Michael Swift

Way to go, guys!

And Then There Were Two

We're just minutes away from the 2008 National LifeSmarts Championship!

It'll be Illinois vs. Arizona in the final match. Illinois, who made its way through the Winners Bracket, and Arizona, who was knocked down in a match yesterday but re-emerged late Monday.

It's gonna be a real nail-biter! Check it out here, streaming live, RIGHT NOW at NextGenWeb!

Illinois Headed to Finals!

Currently underway:

Arizona's Flagstaff Home Educators, coached by Jennifer Bearchell battling New Hampshire's Sullivan County 4-H, coached by Nancy Berry.

It's Almost Trophy Time ...

Semi-Finals Begin!

First up: Illinois vs. Virginia

Don Zabelin's team from West Chicago Community High School is up against Hilary Parr's team from Spotsylvania High School. The tension is thick in this competition ballroom. Eeek!

Monday, April 14, 2008

LifeSmarts Makes News Again!

The U.S. News and World Report's Alpha Consumer blog has dedicated an entire post to the 2008 National LifeSmarts Championship. Want to see how you measure up to the LifeSmarts participants? The blog includes sample LifeSmarts questions. Test out your knowledge on the blog.

Teams in Action

The competition is fierce! Here are more competition photos, including some shots from this morning.

This Just In! Tuesday Matches Set

The four Semi-Finalists have been determined!

Matches start at 9 am tomorrow.

Virginia vs. Illinois
New Hampshire vs. Arizona

VA, NH Headed to Semi-Finals!

Virginia and New Hampshire have made their way through the Winners Bracket and are headed to tomorrow's semi-finals. Still to be determined in the Consolation Bracket are the other two semi-finalists, which will be revealed in the next hour by matches currently underway between:

Rhode Island vs. Tennessee
Illinois vs. Missouri
Kentucky vs. Arizona
Massachusetts vs. Kansas

Hanging Out

Smiles all around! See the players enjoying some downtime in between competitions.

Update: State Champs Eliminated

This just in: these teams have been eliminated. Sorry, guys!
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Indiana
  • Alabama
  • New Mexico
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Delaware
  • Oklahoma
  • Wisconsin
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • North Dakota

Game On!

Finally, what we’ve all been waiting for… the matches begin! Check out some of the teams in action on Sunday!

Check Us Out! WCCO LifeSmarts Piece Aired Sunday Night

We are stars!

LifeSmarts made the Twin Cities CBS news broadcast, WCCO, last night in consumer reporter/weekend anchor Terri Gruca's feature about LifeSmarts! You can view the story online here.

Updated Grid

Today is a half-day of quick competitions: the Consolation Bracket, where some unlucky teams will be eliminated from the 2008 National Championship, and the Winner's Bracket, where two of Tuesday's four semi-finalist teams will emerge.

This morning's competition is going to be fierce - in just a few hours, we'll know who's going to the semi-finals!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Team Photos!

Gorgeous and goofy images of your favorite state champs here!

These guys are New Jersey!

Matches Underway

Click on the grid to see it enlarged. States advancing through the Winners Brackets: Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, Florida, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. But today's matches aren't over yet - stay tuned for more!

LifeSmarts in the Strib!

This just in: Dollars & Sense John Ewoldt of the Minneapolis Star Tribune had a great column today about our LifeSmarts program. You can read it here.

Follow the Competition

Last night at the Captain and Coaches Orientation session, captains drew numbers to determine where they fall in today's first set of Winners Bracket matches.

Teams who competed online-only are testing out the buzzer system this morning, and after a quick welcome by WCCO's consumer reporter/weekend anchor Terri Gruca, and LifeSmarts alum/NCL Board Member Seth Woods, the first matches will begin at 11:15.

Stay tuned for results as they're available!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Random Bits from LS Nationals

"After four years, the grid makes sense." - South Carolina captain Brian Cauble, who's been to the national LifeSmarts Championship four years straight.

The Florida state champs from Marathon High School are from the Florida Keys. They reported yesterday that this is their first time seeing snow.

The team from Kansas started off their journey with an *interesting* experience, reported their captain at Saturday's orientation session. "On the way to the airport this morning, our Suburban hit a deer."

In honor of the state's role in the founding of Arbor Day, Nebraska brought small potted evergreens in little plastic tubes to share as a gift with the other teams. Last year's champion coach Ann George was spotted running up to her room to put the little guys in water.

Garrett Graham, captain of the Pennsylvania team from North East High (which happens to be located in the very westernmost part of the state), introduced his coach, Jeanne Lamb and added that his team's assistant coach couldn't be with the group because he's stationed in Baghdad.

First team on the dancefloor at the Saturday night mixer: California. First dance move: moonwalk.

They're Heeeeeeere

It's Saturday!

There's a steady stream of Super Shuttles bringing in State Champs by the van-load.

Teams have come a long way -- beat more than 20,000 students through online competitions, won at states, bonded through hours of studying and fundraising, and endured dicey weather to
-- to get to Minneapolis.

The 2008 National LifeSmarts Championship is finally here!

We’ve started to see a handful of teams checking out downtown Minneapolis, exploring the hotel and registering for the competition. Here’s a sample of the prizes that are at stake for the players this long weekend:

Third place:

  • $300 Savings Bond (Thank you to Toyota Financial Services)
  • $25 Best Buy Gift Card (Thank you to the Consumer Electronics Association)

Second place:

  • $600 Savings Bond
  • $50 Best Buy Gift cards

And check out what the first place team is in for:

  • $1,200 Savings Bond
  • $100 Best Buy Gift card
  • $100 Staples Gift Cards (Thank you to Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers)
  • iPhones (Thank you to AT&T)

Thank you to all of our sponsors for supporting LifeSmarts and providing these sweet prizes!

Friday, April 11, 2008

OK, OK. We May Have Overreacted

Well, it's turning out that the weather really isn't THAT bad. It's just raining right now, and it's above the freezing mark. (Hmm, the freezing mark. That sounds like a good LifeSmarts question...) Don't get us wrong - it definitely looks more like winter than spring, and there are some areas in the state that are truly getting dumped on - but downtown Minneapolis is mostly just looking a little slushy.

People are no longer using scary words like "blizzard," and we NCL staff are settling in at the hotel where all the action will take place (which is really nice and has a restaurant with a yummy breakfast buffet).

The Star Tribune is reporting that the storm's been downgraded to a "Winter Weather Advisory," and 2-4 inches today. Tomorrow, the day when most LifeSmarts state champs will arrive, looks like even less of a weather threat. So happy and safe travels to all you state champs! We look forward to seeing you!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

We Got Good News, and We Got Bad News

Always go with the bad first, right?

We're watching the weather for Minneapolis, and it's definitely going to be *interesting* over the next day or two. is calling for rain and snow tonight, then rain, snow, and sleet overnight. Tomorrow, we'll get 2 to 4 new inches of snow. Can someone please tell the Twin Cities it's spring?!?

Message to Kea'au High School: please don't let this weather scare you. It will be an adventure, we promise. We need your Aloha Spirit!

But, the good news is that most LifeSmarts state champion teams won't be traveling until Saturday. Right, guys? Less snow is predicted for Saturday, and by Sunday we'll be experiencing a balmy 47 degrees.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Nordstrom, Macy's AND a Bloomingdales?

This must be heaven! Actually, it's the Mall of America!

What better place could there be -- for a bunch of teens who've become experts on being savvy consumers -- to practice?!?

The Mall of America, which is so big it boasts a handful of duplicate stores and an indoor amusement park, is just one of the can't-be-missed sights for the state champs traveling to the 2008 National LifeSmarts Championship event this weekend. Also in that category: the Guthrie Theater, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Walker Art Center.

Twin Cities, here we come!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Final Match to Be Streamed Live!

Great news for all you LifeSmarts fans out there who can't make the trip to the Twin Cities to cheer on your favorite state champ: The final LifeSmarts match, determining this year's champion, will be streamed live on Tuesday, April 15 at is a blog/resource site, sponsored by USTelecom, dedicated to looking at how broadband and the innovations that have spawned from broadband deployment are used to better education, health care, the environment and public safety.

So remember to watch the final match live Tuesday morning! But don't worry if you forget - we'll remind you frequently.

Minneapolis, Here We Come!

Hey LifeSmarts fans and friends,

We're packing our bags and checking our buzzers, and we're on our way to the 2008 LifeSmarts National Championship event in Minneapolis, which kicks off this weekend!

To get ready for the fun and festivities, we thought we'd create this blog to help your family and friends at home have a taste of the LifeSmarts experience. During the next week, we'll bring you photos, stories, and information about how the competition unfolds, but we need your help! Tell us what you want to read about the most: the matches, the fun activities, profiles of the teams and players?

We'll keep you posted as to what goes down in Minneapolis. Talk again soon!

LifeSmarts Nationals staff