Jamestown High School LifeSmarts team going to national competitionFor the third time in as many years, Jamestown High School has qualified a team for the national LifeSmarts competition. But this year’s Philadelphia-bound squad isn’t typical of past JHS teams.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
For the third time in as many years, Jamestown High School has qualified a team for the national LifeSmarts competition. But this year’s Philadelphia-bound squad isn’t typical of past JHS teams.
The team of younger students was the underdog and knocked off the other local all-upperclassmen team back at the state competition in February in a 1-2 finish over all the other teams.
“If these kids just go out there and do the best they can, the rest will take care of itself,” said Marchel Krieger, team coach.
LifeSmarts is a question-based competition that covers five different subject areas: personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology and consumer rights and responsibilities.
“The information the students obtain from the competition, and continually taking the online test, and their quizzes — they’re questions the students can use throughout their lives — it’s a continuous learning experience,” said Joan Mork, North Dakota coordinator for LifeSmarts.
According to team captain Declan O’Higgins, junior, every one of the five competitors can answer questions in each category.
“No one is the best at a topic,” O’Higgins said. “We’re all the best at all the topics.”
O’Higgins is joined by fellow juniors Kyle Gee and Mariah Schlenker, sophomore Zach Fossen and freshman Kelsey Becker.
Some members like Schlenker have been going over LifeSmarts question material for more than a year.
Since school got out last year the team has been getting together to quiz each other and pull independent research on topics.
“I like to gather as much information as possible about the topics and draw from that,” O’Higgins said. “A lot of times you can infer from that.”
Krieger has seen teams like this before and he knows they will not only take the information they learned with them in the future but also the way they learned it.
“Through competition I’ve grown strong in learning answers and just the experience of traveling, meeting people and learning,” Schlenker said.
The team also said it’s grateful for the community donations that will make the trip possible.
So far the Jamestown team completed the first round of online testing on April 6. So far the team is eighth out of the 32 teams competing at nationals after the first round of competition.
The team is scheduled to leave Jamestown early Saturday morning and compete Saturday evening. People can follow along with the Jamestown team starting Saturday evening online at lifesmarts.org. The final eight teams will be streamed live at the same website starting Tuesday morning.
While Mork is quick to point to the coach for teams that continue to succeed, Krieger insists it is the students who put the necessary work in to learn the material.
“They have the capability to do anything they want to do,” Krieger said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org