Agriculture Press Release

February 3, 1999

Lifesmarts Finals Set For Florida State Fair

TALLAHASSEE High school students from around the state will compete for the state championship of "LifeSmarts ... the Ultimate Consumer Challenge," on February 15 at the Florida State Fair in Tampa.

LifeSmarts is an innovative educational competition that tests students on their knowledge of personal financial management, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities. The program is designed to get students to think seriously about important consumer issues through a challenging, game-show format.

"High school students spend billions of dollars each year, but studies show that many lack knowledge about consumer issues," Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Bob Crawford said. "Through the LifeSmarts program, students learn how to get answers to practical problems, like buying a car and insurance, or applying for a credit card. These are skills that will last a lifetime."

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which is one of the sponsors of LifeSmarts, is the states lead agency for consumer issues. The Department registers various businesses, such as motor vehicle repair shops, health studios, telemarketers, business opportunities and charitable solicitors. It also serves as the states clearinghouse for consumer complaints and operates the Consumer Helpline 1-800 HELPFLA (800-435-7352).

In addition to the Department, LifeSmarts is sponsored by Florida Agriculture in the Classroom Inc., a non-profit, public-private partnership. It serves teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade by incorporating agriculture into such subjects as science, social studies, math and language arts. LifeSmarts is also sponsored by The National Coalition for Consumer Education, a non-profit partnership of professionals from the public and private sectors who work to improve consumer knowledge across the country.

"LifeSmarts is an educational program, but the game-show format provides a fun and challenging way to get students involved," Crawford said. "I encourage everyone to come out to the Florida State Fair to support these talented young people."

This is the third year the event has been held in Florida. A team from Hudson High School won last years state championship and went on to place fifth in the national competition, held in Phoenix, Ariz. This years national finals will be held in New York City, April 24-27. Thirteen teams will compete for the state title, including two teams from Hudson High School. River Ridge High School in New Port Richey also will send two teams. Other high schools include Moseley High School in Panama City, Rockledge High School, Lake Gibson High School in Lakeland, Martin County High School in Stuart, South Sumter High School in Bushnell, Havana North Side High School, DeSoto County High School in Arcadia, Jefferson High School in Tampa, and Hernando High School in Brooksville.

The state finals in the LifeSmarts competition will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, February 15, in the Club Pavilion at the Florida State Fair in Tampa. For information about fair tickets, call 1-800-345-FAIR or check out the State Fairs web site at https://florida-agriculture.com/statefair .


For more information:

Larry Reese
(850) 487-8140

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