Stafford 8th-grader wins anti-vape contest


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STAFFORD — A brand new anti-vaping initiative funded with grant cash and overseen by Officer Earl Middleton, who turned the college useful resource officer final October, requested college students from sixth to twelfth grade to make use of any inventive technique to supply an academic undertaking displaying the destructive results of digital cigarettes and different smokeless tobacco.

The grand prizewinner, eighth-grade scholar Kaylah Pellegrino, received a $200 prize and was acknowledged Monday by the Board of Schooling for her efforts. She advised the Journal Inquirer that she was motivated to take part by her ardour for artwork and want to teach others on the hazards of vaping.

“I could add my own creativity to it, and it gave me something to focus on — to let people know about vaping and the harmful things it can do to you,” she stated.

Middleton stated Lt. Thomas Duncan of Stafford’s resident state trooper’s workplace proposed utilizing funds from an anti-vaping grant awarded by Hartford-based Amplify Inc., a nonprofit that serves north-central Connecticut and is targeted on substance abuse and psychological well being, to get college students instantly concerned in instructional efforts. Middleton organized the competition through which the highest three winners from every grade would win a prize starting from $25 to $100, with single grand prize winner profitable not less than $100.

A panel of judges together with Superintendent Stephen Moccio, Board of Schooling members Laura Lybarger and Michael Delano, and representatives from Johnson Memorial Hospital and the Division of Youngsters and Households selected Pellegrino for the grand prize.

Pellegrino, 14, mixed analysis into the consequences of vaping with hand-drawn cartoon strips to create a visible undertaking that may educate fellow college students concerning the chemical parts of e-cigarettes and how one can inform if somebody is utilizing them.

“I thought it was really important so that somebody could spot it before it got too big of a situation, so that you could help them before they really did become addicted,” she advised the college board.

Along with her analysis, which included data from the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, Pellegrino stated she started the undertaking with data about vaping that she had acquired since elementary college. That, she stated, is when native college students start studying concerning the risks related to it, together with most cancers and coronary heart and lung injury.

Pellegrino stated the competition additionally offered a inventive outlet amid the pandemic.

“With COVID, right now there haven’t really been any (art projects) to do,” she stated.

Middleton stated he plans to proceed holding the competition, and expects future iterations will appeal to extra entrants than the 50 who participated this yr.

“I think now that they saw the results of this contest, the next one is going to be even bigger and better, so I’m excited about that,” he stated.

For updates and protection of Vernon and Stafford, observe Anthony Branciforte on Twitter: @ABranciforte_JI, Fb: Reporter Anthony Branciforte, and Instagram: @JI_Anthony1.


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