Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rivalry continues in Rhode Island

By guest blogger Jim Hedemark, RI Jump$tart Coalition Executive Director, Rhode Island LifeSmarts Coordinator

Dreams of Miami Beach, intensified by the rain pouring outside the State House on Friday, March 26th, were set aside in favor of the immediate business of brackets and buzzers as the 2010 Rhode Island LifeSmarts competition got underway. Six teams representing Ocean State high schools from Barrington, Burrillville, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield, and Tolman vied for the prestigious Consumer Cup.

Secretary of State, A. Ralph Mollis who spoke to students during the certificate ceremony about the importance of civic involvement and consumer awareness applauds the program, “I am extremely proud of every one of the students who competed. Their parents should know that their children represented their families and schools tremendously at our State House.”

“March Smartness VI” presented by CollegeBoundfund, as we call our state finals, held all of the excitement of the basketball tournament by a similar name, but thanks to the Verizon Pioneers the food was much healthier than you might find at a sports venue. Along with volunteering as officials, the Pioneers make sure that nutrition isn’t just a LifeSmarts topic at our state finals each year.

More than 20 volunteers gave their time to fill the official duties, including scorekeepers, all accounting majors from Providence College, who would use a lot of ink recording points by Barrington and North Providence … as has been the case in the Ocean State for the six year history of our competition.

The Rhode Island “LifeSmarts Legends” page shows program dominance of these two schools with North Providence winning state titles in ‘05, ‘06, ‘08, and ‘09, and Barrington in ‘07 and ‘10.

In order to claim the 2010 Consumer Cup, Barrington had to beat the defending state champions from North Providence in the final round and again in overtime due to our double-elimination format. North Providence had bested Barrington in the second round of competition earlier in the day. This was a reversal of fortune from the 2009 competition where North Providence pulled off the same difficult feat over Barrington.

As quoted in a great article by Brenna McCabe, Valley Breeze Staff Writer, Barrington Captain Gabrielle Sclafani said, “I’m so excited for this. We came in second three years in a row, and we worked so hard this year.”

Peter Kerwin, spokesperson for CollegeBoundfund, the Rhode Island 529 college savings program reflects on the overtime round, “The only thing more gratifying than the overtime intensity was the 529 question that was posed in the tie-breaker.”

Perhaps Paul Horwitz, FDIC Boston Area Office Community Affairs Specialist, a veteran official at state and national LifeSmarts wraps us memories of March Smartness VI the best …

“It may be that the Consumer Cup and the chance for a trip to Miami Beach were the immediate rewards, but as today’s students become tomorrow’s adults, LifeSmarts competitors will have a significant advantage over their peers. Students involved in LifeSmarts know many of the answers to real life issues, where far too few of their peers may not even understand the questions.”

We look forward to following Barrington at nationals and although two teams in Rhode Island have presented LifeSmarts fans with over half a decade of intense rivalry, I have my eyes on a couple of young programs that will surely bring their best to future state competitions and earn a new home for the Consumer Cup.