Times Staff Reporter
Two Clay County fifth-graders will soon see their posters on billboards.
Clay City Elementary student Morgan Idland and Staunton Elementary student Elan Puerner are the two grand champion winners of the Clay County Health Department Anti-Tobacco Poster Contest entries, among the elementary schools.
Clay County Health Department Community Health Educator Linda Messmer and Clay County Commissioner Jack Withers spoke with students about the benefits of not smoking as well as the consequences of smoking.
"A total of 333 kids sat through the presentation," Messmer said. "Overall, 219 kids turned in a poster and received a jump rope for participating."
Morgan, 10, is the daughter of Sandy and Dave Price and Jim Idland, Clay City. Her poster really grabbed the attention of the judges, featuring a skull puffing on a cigarette, with the words, "Would you die for a cigarette?"
Morgan was surprised to be one of the grand champion winners and credits her stepfather with helping her think of the idea.
"We were talking about people dying from cigarettes and the idea popped into my head," she said.
Another student had the same surprised response to Clay County Health Department Community Health Educator Linda Messmer announcement. Elan, 11, is the son of Bill and Robin Puerner, Cloverland.
"It's my birthday," Elan said. "This is a surprise."
Elan followed the same route Morgan did for ideas.
"We talked in health once about how even if you start smoking and stop, you've still hurt yourself," he said. "I went home and talked to my mom about what I learned and it just came together."
Elan's poster features a pack of cigarettes handcuffed to a hand, with the words "Smoking ... a life sentence with a death penalty."
Grand champion winners received a $20 gift card to Walmart, a T-shirt with their poster on it, mini billboards and their poster on a billboard.
Each school had their own champion and they received a $20 gift card to Walmart and a T-shirt with their poster on it.
Brazil City Parks Board President Ruth Ann Jeffries, County Commissioners Charlie Brown, Paul Sinders and Withers, as well as Clay County Health Department Secretary Bell Killion, served as judges for the contest.
By targeting the fifth-grade students, Messmer hopes to prevent them from using any type of tobacco product.
"If one child is prevented from smoking it will save society $300,000 through out their lifetime," she said.
Both students received standing ovations by classmates, for their accomplishments.
"You are all a winner if you don't smoke." Messmer told the students.
The following is a list of individual winners at each school for the Clay County Health Department Smoking Prevention contest:
* Forest Park Elementary -- Cameron Rae Carrol,
* East Side Elementary -- Kerstie Shaw,
* Van Buren Elementary -- Caitlyn Herron,
* Meridian Elementary -- Kayler Prano,
* Jackson Township Elementary -- Nicholas Ross, and
* Cornerston Christian Academy -- Leah Jo Stephens