Students will soon learn about the dangers of smoking as well as expressing themselves creatively.
"Smoking is one, of the most preventable causes of premature death," Clay County Health Department Community Health Educator Linda Messmer said.
"By targeting the youth, we hope to deter and prevent them from using any type of tobacco product, which includes the rising popularity of dip among young students."
Starting Jan. 5, she will be giving a presentation to every fifth-grade class in the Clay Community School Corporation, including Cornerstone Christian Academy, about the dangers and risks with tobacco use.
At the end of the presentation, students will receive poster paper and instructions on when the poster is due, Messmer will go around to the schools and pick them up.
Judging is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 22 and Messmer hopes to announce the winners Jan. 29 or 30.
Some of the poster judges are Brazil City Mayor Ann Bradshaw, Clay County Health Department employees, and Clay County Commissioners Charlie Brown, Jack Withers, and Paul Sinders.
Every student who enters the contest will receive a jump rope Messmer said, "to promote good health and fitness."
One winner will be announced from every school and receive a $20 gift card as well as their poster design on a T-shirt.
Two overall winners (one from the north and one from the south side of the county) will have their posters featured on billboards in the county for two months this spring.
"We go to the elementary schools and talk to the fifth-graders because they will be going to middle school the next year where they will be exposed to peer pressure," Messmer said.
"If we can give them the confidence and the encouragement to say no to people that offer them tobacco then we will have done our part."
Clarification JAN 3, 2009
Clay County Councilwoman Rita Rothrock and Community Theatre representative Julia Kapke were inadvertently left out of the listing of contest judges in the story "Poster contest scheduled for students."