Douglas students encourage smoke-free lifestyles |

Douglas students encourage smoke-free lifestyles

by Shane Murphy
Ninth grader Justin Phillips (left) spins the prize wheel with Thomas Rao at the Kick Butts event Wednesday at Pau-WQa-Lu Middle School.
Shane Murphy |

Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School students came out to kick butts on Wednesday.

The student group Students Taking On Prevention warned their Pau-Wa -Lu peers about the dangers of tobacco use during lunches this week.

“I like raising awareness in my peer group and showing people that drugs and alcohol aren’t the right path to life,” said freshman Thomas Rao. “I have family members that have made some bad choices and I don’t want to do that.”

The event involved students helping to educate their peers on the dangers of tobacco use.

One of their advisors from the Partnership of Community Resources, Crizelle Reyes, said that it’s great to see the students make the movement their own.

“It’s really great to see these kids take ownership of this,” said Reyes. “I really don’t have to do too much because they are all so involved and passionate about it.”

Rao and fellow freshman Hannah Sizelove both attended the state conference for Nevada Statewide Coalition of Youth where they learned and spoke about different ways to expose big tobacco.

“It was a way for youth to come together and fight against big tobacco,” said Sizelove. “We learned about how to expose big tobacco and show that they are cold blooded and greedy.”

The students at Pau-Wa-Lu could win anything from wristbands to stylish sunglasses for citing tobacco facts correctly.

The lines for participation were long as students were eager to participate in spreading awareness about the deadly effects of tobacco.

Both Rao and Sizelove said they cherish the opportunity to interact with their peers and make a difference for the better.

“A friend got me into this a couple of years ago,” said Sizelove. “Then I just loved the opportunity to work within the community and I plan on sticking with this all the way through High School, it’s a great group with great goals.”

STOP events raising awareness about tobacco have also been held at Carson Valley Middle School and Douglas High School.