Virginia Tech® home

Virginia LifeSmarts

LifeSmarts, the ultimate consumer challenge, is an educational program that develops the consumer and marketplace skills of teenagers in a fun way and rewards them for knowledge they demonstrate. The program complements any curriculum in high schools and can be used as an activity for clsases, groups, clubs, and community organizations. LifeSmarts competitions are run in a game-show style an dare open to all teens in the United States in grades 9 through 12. Teams of teens compete online and in state matches, with the state winners going to the national competition to vie for the LifeSmart championship title.

LifeSmarts is a flexible classroom or group activity that teaches teens to be smart and responsible consumers and citizens. The content focuses on five key areas of consumer knowledge that teens need to know to function effectively in today's marketplace. LifeSmarts participants learn about:

  • Personal finance
  • Health and safety
  • The environment
  • Technology
  • Consumer rights and responsibilities

Students begin online where they use LifeSmarts resources and practice competitions from September to January. Working independently, students take five 20-question quizzes — one on each LifeSmarts topic. Teams composed of four or five students with qualifying scores are invited to the state competition.

The winning team receives financial assistance toward their trip to the national championship to represent Virginia. The 2015 National LifeSmarts Championship will be April 17-20, 2015 in Seattle, WA.

Hungry 4-H Caterpillars
Coach: Amber Wilson
Coach: Karie Dawkins
Coach: Lynne Slater
Statesman ANs
Coach: Rebekah Glasbrenner
Green Dragons
Coach: Don Blanton
Statesman Been Had Polo
Coach: Rebekah Glasbrenner
Coach: Karie Dawkins
Statesman Goons
Coach: Rebekah Glasbrenner
2014Henrico 4-H
2013Maggie L. Walker Governors School
2011-2012George C. Marshall High School
2010Maggie L. Walker Governors School  
2008-2009Spotsylvania High School
2007George C. Marshall High School
2005-2006Henrico 4-H     
2003-2004Maggie L. Walker Governors School  
2002-2001Washington County 4-H
2000Clover Hill High School
1999Fairfax 4-H
1998Henrico 4-H
1997Northumberland County
1996New Kent High School 4-H
Kimberly Edmonds
Henrico County Cooperative Extension
State Co-Coordinator
Cherry Hedges
Virginia Credit Union
State Co-Coordinator
Amanda Blanks
State Corporation Commission
Robyn Clark
Henrico Federal Credit Union
LaDonna Cruse
Suzanne Gallagher
Center for Economic Education
Brenda Hicks
Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc.
David Irvin
Office of the Virginia Attorney General
Dawn Lindley
Virginia Credit Union League
Melissa Smarr
Fairfax County Consumer Protection
Cristin Sprenger
Rockingham County Cooperative Extension
Angie Taylor
Argent Federal Credit Union
Katha Treanor
State Corporation Commission
*Amounts contributed by the Attorney General's office are derived from fees, recoveries, and other monies collected from defendants in antitrust and consumer protection cases brought by the office. **No state funds were used.
4-H students and their advisor wear LifeSmarts t-shirts

Henrico 4-H team wins Virginia title, ties for fourth nationally in LifeSmarts

A Henrico County 4-H team recently completed a successful run in the LifeSmarts consumer education competitions, capturing the Virginia championship and finishing tied for fourth nationally in Orlando, Florida. 

A program of the National Consumers League, LifeSmarts is a consumer education competition that challenges students in ninth through 12th grades with questions about personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities. 

The Henrico 4-H team — known as WSIWYG, an abbreviation for “what you see is what you get” — consists of students Emma Shepard, Curtis Cantwell, Joshua Hyde, Steven Baker and George Evans. Coach Karie Dawkins leads the squad with assistant coaches Kathleen Cantwell and Sheila Hyde. 

Teams across Virginia competed online early this year for a chance to participate in the state’s LifeSmarts finals, held March 7 at the Virginia Housing Development Authority’s Virginia Housing Center in Henrico. WSIWYG defeated seven teams to capture the Virginia State LifeSmarts Championship and qualify for the LifeSmarts National Championship, held April 26-29 in Orlando. 

In the national competition, WSIWYG ranked eighth overall in points after eight rounds, which allowed the team to advance to the quarterfinals. The team finished tied for fourth, with teams from Pennsylvania, Arizona and Tennessee. Overall, the competition featured 34 teams representing 32 states, Future Business Leaders of America, and Future Career and Community Leaders of America. Two WSIWYG team members placed in the individual competition. Emma Shepard finished second nationally in health and safety, while Joshua Hyde placed fourth in environment. 

Henrico’s 4-H program has had four teams to represent Virginia in the national LifeSmarts competition since 1995. 

“LifeSmarts participants in Virginia have gained many of the consumer ‘smarts’ they’ll need to make it in the real world,” said Kimberly Edmonds, family and consumer sciences extension agent for Henrico and co-coordinator of LifeSmarts for Virginia. “We are proud of the WSIWYG team and how well it represented Virginia.” Henrico 4-H is a comprehensive youth development program that offers hands-on learning experiences under the guidance of 4-H agents and trained adult or teen volunteers. Program offerings include recreational camps and a variety of contests and clubs. 

Learn more about Henrico’s 4-H and LifeSmarts programs.