High schoolers take top prize at state competition

SARANAC LAKE - A group of Saranac Lake High School students are gearing up for a trip to St. Louis in April after taking first place at a statewide competition.

The five teens, coached by Tricia Preston, won the New York State LifeSmarts competition Tuesday afternoon in Albany. They will now represent their school at the national event.

The team consisted of two seniors - Alex Beideck and Brian Wolff - and three juniors, Mackenzie Davison, Ally Cummings, and team captain Hillary Pond.

LifeSmarts tests high schoolers' knowledge of marketplace information, such as personal finance, consumer rights and responsibilities, health and safety, technology, and the environment.

"It's a great way to prepare for the post-high school world," Preston said. "These guys did great; this is the second time in seven years that our school has won states."

Preston said the students were nervous when they arrived at the competition - which may have contributed to their first-round loss.

"One of the things the students realized when they first got to Albany was that all of the other teams had coordinated shirts and things like that," Preston said. "They were a little intimidated at the start of the event. Without having any experience being there, the first round was one to sort of warm-up to what was going on."

The group went on to defeat several teams from larger school districts in Rochester and Long Island.

"They faired very well against the large schools," Preston said. "They really didn't know what to expect. They surprised themselves."

State LifeSmarts competitions around the country are winding down this week, and the final 50 teams will be announced next week.

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