West Chicago High School LifeSmarts Team places 9th in national competition

The West Chicago High School LifeSmarts Team represented Illinois at the 30th annual National LifeSmarts Competition.

The competition took place April 18-21 in San Diego, California, and the West Chicago team finished in 9th place.

Members of the team are Angie Jacobo (captain), Arely Jacobo, Dana Tomasevic, Briana Guerrero, and Miranda Bucio. The team is coached by Don Zabelin.

Forty-seven teams competed and the state of Missouri was able to advance three teams into the national finals. The West Chicago team had an unusual draw and played each of the three Missouri teams.

West Chicago got off to a very fast start and defeated Missouri (Team 1) by a score of 150-30.

“The team was very fast to the buzzer and it was apparent that their many hours of practice had paid off. This was an experienced team with seniors Angie, Arely, and Dana competing since they were freshmen,” Zabelin said.

In the next match against Missouri (Team 2), the West Chicago team trailed early by a score of 25-10 but was able to rally nicely down the stretch and win the match 100-65.

The match against Missouri (Team 3) proved to be very competitive. West Chicago had the early lead 75-55 and with 10 questions remaining trailed 105-95. The match ended in a 145-145 tie.

West Chicago had accumulated enough points and continued into the next round of competition. They played Arizona who was seeded third in the competition.

“We were right there with Arizona. We only trailed 115-100 with 10 questions left. Arizona was just slightly faster to the buzzer and that was the difference,” Zabelin said. The loss to Arizona eliminated West Chicago from the tournament.

The West Chicago team was also recognized for making one of the top 10 digital posters on how to avoid being a victim of counterfeit goods. Angie Jacobo created the poster and the team was awarded $100.

LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League. It tests students’ knowledge of personal finance, consumer rights, the environment, health and safety, workforce preparation, and technology. For more information, go to

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