Communications: News

New Ulm Fourth Grader Wins First-Place in Statewide Anti-Smoking Poster Contest

Monday, June 14, 2004  
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Larissa Leshovsky, a fourth-grader at St. Anthony’s Elementary in New Ulm, placed first in the 2004 Minnesota Tar Wars Poster Contest. Her poster, which states ‘You Could Save Money Honey’, shows hands grabbing for dollar bills. At the bottom, a simple message reads, "Don’t Smoke…Please.” Posters were judged on artistry, creativity, originality and their ability to communicate a clear POSITIVE message to remain tobacco-free. Leshovsky’s poster will now advance to the National Tar Wars Poster Contest to be held this July in Washington, D.C.

The Tar Wars program is taught by volunteer health care professionals, educators and community members who join together to address the issue of youth-targeted marketing and access to tobacco. These volunteers go into classrooms across the state and spread the Tar Wars message. Dr. Francine Knowles shared the Tar Wars message with Leshovsky’s class. The program is filled with fun and interactive lessons focusing on the long and short-term effects of tobacco use, image-based effects of tobacco use and reasons people use tobacco.

For her efforts, Leshovsky will be awarded a family-pack of tickets to the Valleyfair Amusement Park in Shakopee, as well as a framed certificate and a Tar Wars t-shirt.

The posters were judged by more than 200 family physicians during the Minnesota Academy of Family Physician’s Spring Refresher on May 20-21, 2004. Second place went to Michael Mohrbacher of Armstrong Elementary in Cottage Grove, and third place went to Annie Zacho of Newport Elementary in Newport.

Tar Wars was developed in 1988 by the Hall of Life at the Denver Museum of Natural History and Doctors Ought to Care (DOC). It has been implemented in 50 states and is owned and operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Tar Wars was introduced in Minnesota during the 1996-97 school year, when it reached about 30 classrooms. Today, the program reaches close to 400,000 children nationally and internationally each year.

The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians is a professional association of approximately 3,000 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students organized to assist family physicians in providing quality medical care in Minnesota. The MAFP is the largest medical specialty organization in Minnesota and is a state chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians, one of the largest national medical organizations in the United States with more than 103,000 members.

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