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‘Kick Butts Day' gives students insight on dangers

April 05, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Barbara Worth Junior High students celebrated the inaugural national "Kick Butts Day" with a special Wednesday morning assembly.

"Kick Butts Day" was described by Imperial County Office of Education prevention specialist Shelley Zeigler as "a day for youth advocates to come together across the country as leaders against tobacco use and its dangers."

The assembly presented the health risks of tobacco and other controlled substances.

During a skit set to music by AmeriCorps members, students watched one woman's progression of addictions, beginning with tobacco and ending with heroin.

"The skit is effective in so many different areas. We use it often," Zeigler said.

She added the skit is often presented at Friday Night Live meetings and youth camps.

Also presenting at the assembly was Terri Schiffer, project director from the Imperial County Tobacco Education Project, who gave a fun and informative lesson about the results of smoking in the body.

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Using slides, Schiffer showed the different marketing campaigns, including billboards and magazine ads, that target young adults.

"We've found that students don't realize the advertising departments are targeting them, and I think they really got that from today," Zeigler said.

Schiffer kept the students' attention with games and "tobacco-free" prizes for questions answered correctly.

"Statistics show that if a child reaches the age of 18 and has never smoked, there is a lower chance of that child smoking later on in life," Zeigler said. "We're trying to get the message out as young as possible."

Many students said their favorite part of the assembly was the skit and said they planned to ask people they know who smoke to stop.

"It's not good for her," said Colene Curiel, 13, an eighth- grader who plans to ask her aunt to stop smoking.

David Siqueiroz 13, an eighth-grader, said the presentation helped change his mind about smoking.

John Wenzel, vice principal at Barbara Worth, said, "Our goal is to make students aware of the dangers of smoking."

He added, "It's important that decisions are made before the age of 18, so we need to get the message to kids now rather than later."

Students were given a variety of parting gifts as they exited, from Frisbees to pens to stickers.

"It was good. It was a fun way to learn not to smoke," said seventh-grader Russell Jack, 13.

Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-3442.

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