Wakonda Public School students learn about ‘a monstrous addiction’

Wakonda Public School students learn about 'a monstrous addiction' Students in kindergarten through fifth grade at Wakonda Public School have been learning about the dangers of smoking, using chewing tobacco, and secondhand smoke through mini lessons, interactive activities, and games.

The project titled "A Monstrous Addiction" was planned, organized, and conducted by Josh Wagner, Brittaney Schroeder, and Kayla Ridgway, local Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) members as part of their Focus on Children project.

These Wakonda eighth- graders received training for this project through their Family and Consumer Science Classes and by attending Teens against Tobacco Use (TATU) training last November.

The FCCLA members chose this topic because statistics show that 80 percent of smokers started smoking before age 18. Tobacco kills more people than AIDS, murder, alcohol abuse and drunk driving combined. Three thousand teens start smoking each day, of those, 1,000 will die from tobacco-related diseases.

Through an informal survey of the students in Kindergarten through fifth grade at Wakonda Public School, Wagner, Schroeder, and Ridgway found that both parents of approximately 45 percent of Wakonda's K-5 children use tobacco. Twenty-seven percent of the children have one parent who smokes.

Throughout the lessons "Smokey," a monster mascot, was used to help the students visualize the fact that tobacco use is a "Monstrous Addiction." Monsters are big and scary just like tobacco use is a BIG problem and many SCARY things can happen to people who use tobacco.

A PowerPoint presentation created by Wagner, Schroeder, and Ridgway, was used to explain the health hazards of using tobacco products to the fourth- and fifth-graders. To help the students understand the effect of emphysema the students attempted to breathe through a straw while running in place.

As the students viewed the part of the PowerPoint presentation on the harmful ingredients in cigarettes they completed a word find. During the second lesson the students played a game called "The Terrible Tobacco Tale" to review the facts about tobacco use.

A movie titled Sooper Puppy Puff of Smoke along with a variety of visual was used to teach the kindergarten through third grade students about the dangers of tobacco use. A coloring contest wrapped up the lessons.

Wagner, Schroeder, and Ridgway will be presenting their project in state STAR Event competition at the South Dakota FCCLA Leadership meeting in Sioux Falls April 24-26.

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