While their classmates danced the night away at the 2015 prom the Iola High School Life Smarts team was across the country at its national competition.
This is the first time Iola has won state and qualified for nationals.
Iola finished eighth out of 34 teams, easily topping adviser Jean Johns’ goal of making the top 16.
The Iola squad is made up of juniors Clara Wicoff, Taylor Heslop, Abigail Taylor and Yohon Sinclair and sophomore Ryan Eyster.
The students were given a series of tests to gauge their knowledge on consumer rights and responsibilities, the environment, health and safety, personal finance and technology.
Taylor Heslop earned the top individual healthy and safety category score in the nation. With the honor, Heslop also earned a $500 scholarship.
Team member Abigail Taylor said the team owes a big thank you to the Kansas state coordinator Angela Howdeshell for helping them study.
“I felt very prepared because of her help and we really appreciate her,” Taylor said. “Other states weren’t as prepared for the quiz bowl portion.”
Taylor’s forte is the environment category. She enjoyed seeing ecofriendly practices in the Seattle area.
“It is a very green community, both ways,” Yohon Sinclar said, pointing to the environmentally friendly atmosphere and lush foliage. He also noted how friendly everyone was while they toured the city.
The group said it didn’t rain once in the stereotypical rainy city. While there, the Iolans visited the waterfront aquarium and took a ferry to Bainbridge Island, a favorite of team member Ryan Eyster. Johns taught the group seafood etiquette and Heslop said the food was fabulous.
Johns said each squad was paired with a sister team. Iola’s was from New Hampshire. Both teams visited the Space Needle and had dinner.
The four juniors and sophomore hope to return to the competition next year.
The expenses of the trip was paid for by the state bank commissioner’s office and AT&T.
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