After a heated battle, Charles Henderson High School secured the Alabama state LifeSmarts title for the second year in a row
By Seth Woods, LifeSmarts Outreach Coordinator
For several weeks, high school students across the country will be competing in LifeSmarts state tournaments, earning automatic bids to the National Championship in Atlanta. Outreach coordinator Seth Woods is attending several of these events and submitted this report.
Birmingham’s nickname is “The Magic City,” and it certainly didn’t disappoint this time. Players of all ages gathered together for an old-fashioned LifeSmarts showdown.We started the day with a demonstration match: in addition to running LifeSmarts, Alabama coordinator Floresha Watkins, with the Jefferson County Committee of Economic Opportunity, teaches financial literacy to students in the Jefferson County ACHIEVE program—and was kind enough to bring them in for a match. Teams worked together answering questions, covering everything from prescription drugs to creditworthiness. The score was all over the place as well, the Achievers leading the Beautiful Butterflies (they picked their own names) 45 – 30 after the team-plus round, but the challenge round allowed the Butterflies to emerge, going out with a 140 – 115 victory.While in town, we also had the unique opportunity to demonstrate LifeSmarts to a younger audience as well. I wasn’t entirely sure where Floresha was taking me at first, but as we pulled into Pleasant Grove Middle School thoughts flooded my mind: not only can they play JV competition this year, it’s a great feeder program for future varsity teams. And even though the students didn’t know anything about the program before we arrived, they did very well, exhibiting proficiency in things like child working hours and what it takes to become a U.S. senator. One match was so close (only five points separated the teams with the final 10-point Challenge question to go), when the Cup Cakes (again their choice) got the final question as the bell rang, the students “stormed the room.” I had never seen that before, literally a rush of 8th
-graders swarmed the four winners as they scrambled to get their backpacks refilled. We even stayed for lunch (if you haven’t been in a middle school cafeteria recently you’re in for a shock—vegetables everywhere, fresh whole-wheat rolls, and not a French fry in sight) and the real surprise…it was delicious!
For the second year in a row, Charles Henderson High took home the title and will represent the state in Atlanta. Add to that the precocious minds I met in that middle school, things are looking up for Alabama LifeSmarts. Can’t wait to see what next year’s competition looks like!
The next report: Seth goes Midwest for competitions in Missouri and Kansas.