Local children awarded for promoting tobacco-free lifestyle

This year, an entry by St. Alphonsus Academy student Katie Buck of Argyle was chosen as a state winner, and it will be judged on the national level in late summer by a panel in Kansas City Durkee said.

Warren County's child artists have routinely fared well in the annual contest.

In 2008, Warren County had another state winner, Paige Potter, a 5th grader at Lake George Elementary with her sports-themed poster incorporating a banner that read, "Non-smokers always win."

In 2007, Queensbury Elementary student Zane Belden, won both the state and national finals.

Durkee said feedback received from teachers and school administrators indicate the Tar Wars program has been useful and effective.

The program is targeted at elementary-age children because they impressionable, plus the students hear the message before they have to deal with peer pressure routinely encountered in junior high school from older teens, Durkee said.

"We're offering a positive message about being tobacco free, minimizing the talk about illness, death and gravestones," he said. "Hopefully this reduces health risks for future generations."

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