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WCCHS LifeSmarts Team Wins 3rd Place at National Competition

The West Chicago Community High School LifeSmarts team represented Illinois and won 3rd Place at the 25th Annual National LifeSmarts Championship. The competition took place April 13-16, 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

Team members included Manav Patel (Captain), David Fatheree, Jeremy Grant, Alex Hey, and Max Kazmer. LifeSmarts assesses a student’s understanding of personal finance, technology, the environment, health and safety, and consumer rights.

The national competition began with students working together to solve challenges in 10 different LifeSmarts topic areas, taking individual tests, and competing in the preliminary quiz bowl matches. In the preliminary matches, West Chicago defeated Georgia 135-100, then defeated Oklahoma 140-35, beat Michigan 135-85, and defeated Connecticut 200-30. 

The top 16 teams then competed in a single elimination quiz bowl competition to determine the national champion. In the round of 16 match, West Chicago beat Michigan again 220-90. In the quarter-final round, West Chicago won by answering the last question correctly and defeated New Hampshire 175-170. In the semi-final, Pennsylvania defeated West Chicago 244-232.

“The match versus Pennsylvania was very close throughout all of the rounds of competition,” Coach Don Zabelin noted. “Pennsylvania won the national championship in each of the last three years. The fact that we were able to be in contention to win this match right to the very end demonstrates that this West Chicago team representing Illinois was one of the premiere LifeSmarts teams in the nation.  These students worked extremely hard and they should be very proud of their accomplishment.”

Three individual awards were also earned during the competition. Alex Hey won second place in the Identity Theft Essay Contest. David Fatheree won second place in the Technology individual assessment, and Max Kazmer won fourth place in the Consumer Rights assessment.

For winning third place, each team member will receive a $750 college scholarship. LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League. For more information visit

For photos of the competition, see our Facebook post at

2019 LifeSmarts Team

West Chicago Community High School’s 3rd Place National LifeSmarts Team (l to r):  David Fatheree, Max Kazmer, Manav Patel (Captain), Alex Hey, Jeremy Grant, with Coach Don Zabelin.