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Main Street School sweeps anti-smoking contest

• May 26, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Three local fifth-graders recently were awarded prizes for their winning entries submitted to the “Tobacco-Free” Bookmark Contest sponsored by Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk and Mercy Health – Willard Hospital.

The first-place winner, Kaylee Houghtlen, of Kerry Steffanni’s class at Main Street School, received an iPod Nano. Her bookmark, “Be A Fighter, Put Down The Lighter,” will be printed and distributed to area libraries. The contest’s second-place winner, Logan McClish, from Ann Sellers’ class at Main Street School, earned a $50 Wal-Mart gift card, and third-place winner, Addyson O’Rork, also of Steffanni’s class, was awarded a $25 Wal-Mart gift card.

All of these students also won a pizza party for their fifth-grade class courtesy of Fisher-Titus and Mercy Health – Willard Hospital. These winners were selected from 141 entries.

“Students from five area schools were invited to enter the contest and design original bookmarks with tobacco free messages,” said Kim Bailey, a certified tobacco treatment specialist at Fisher-Titus and member of the bookmark contest committee. “It is wonderful to see children excited to get the message out about the dangers of tobacco use.”

Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 440,000 American lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and victims of "secondhand" exposure to tobacco's carcinogens, according to the American Lung Association.

This contest was created in 2007 by the Huron County Tobacco Control Alliance. Since this group was dissolved in 2008, Fisher-Titus and Mercy Health – Willard Hospital have worked in collaboration to continue the contest.

“This was a project that both area hospitals decided was a great benefit to our communities,” said Marsha Danhoff, director of brand, marketing and communication at Mercy Health – Willard Hospital. “The contest helps area students not only learn about the tobacco and its effects, but through these creative bookmarks, the message reaches the entire community.”

Rules of the contest were simple. Entries needed to be hand-drawn in color or black and white on the official entry form. Bookmarks were to include original artwork, original manuscript in the form of a poem, prose, letter or original slogan. Students needed to demonstrate how tobacco companies manipulate students to smoke; how important it is for students to be tobacco free, or convey a message to others that would prevent them from using tobacco.

Huron County Health Department staff judged the entries this year and selected the winning bookmarks based on originality, message conveyed and neatness. Nichole Marks from the Health Department, attended the Main Street School award presentation and pizza party to distribute beach balls to the students in Steffanni’s class.

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