Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March Smartness VIII in Rhode Island

By Jim Hedemark, RI Jump$tart Coalition Executive Director and Rhode Island LifeSmarts Coordinator

AG Peter Kilmartin, Jeffrey and Rita
Michaelson, Marcia Reback,
and Sec. of State A. Ralph Mollis
LifeSmarts prepares teenagers for their futures, and yet at this year's Ocean State competition our proudest moments came as we paid tribute to the past. On Friday, March 30 at the Rhode Island State House before our final match, we held a special ceremony in the House Chambers to unveil the newly renamed, Julius C. Michaelson Consumers' Cup after former Attorney General Michaelson (1975-1979), who passed away last November. 

State Champion Captain Brenden
Forte fills in the champion bracket.
Rhode Island Secretary of State, A. Ralph Mollis and Attorney General, Peter F. Kilmartin read messages by former Attorney General Michaelson to the General Assembly from the mid 1970's through which he communicated the newly formed Division of Consumer Protection's initial efforts, and proposed legislation including assertive action to create (among other items), open meetings of the utilities companies, freshness dates on food, "bait and switch" schemes, debt collection abuse, and corporate responsibility. Both state officers underscored the similarities between the economy of the '70's and today citing high unemployment, rising gas prices, and the rising cost of health care.

Hedemark with Jeffrey and
Rita Michaelson
Marcia Reback, former President of the RI Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, AFT, AFL-CIO, spoke about the Michaelson Act, which was passed in 1966 when Michaelson was a State Senator, giving teachers the right to collective bargaining. We are proud that Mrs. Julius C. Michaelson (Rita), and Michaelson's son Jeffrey joined us during the ceremony.

At the 2012 LifeSmarts Rhode Island State Finals, which we affectionately call March Smartness VIII, buzzers buzzed and brackets were busted, even yielding a Cinderella story. Rounding out our "Frenetic Four" are; Burrillville who claimed fourth place for the second time in eight years. Mt. Hope shocked LifeSmarts nation by claiming third place in their first-ever trip to the state finals. East Greenwich, who lost their opening round, battled their way back to the final match, but ultimately fell to Barrington who went undefeated all day and claimed the state championship for the third time in eight years.  They took home the Michaelson Consumers' Cup and include students:

Captain Brenden Forte, Rahul Chander, Matthew Groetelaars, Stephen Lamontagne (all seniors), and junior Jack Liang. Coached by Business Teacher, Karen Proule, the Barrington Eagles are eagerly preparing for nationals and look forward to meeting fellow competitors from across the nation!