Siteman Honors Students For Anti-Smoking Message

Jason Merrill
Barnes-Jewish Hospital

November 19, 2008, ST. LOUIS – With a message of “Smoking Kills,” students at Bayless Junior High in South St. Louis were recognized for creative anti-smoking messages from the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine as part of an annual art and essay contest tied to November’s “Great American Smokeout.”

Seventh grader Kathy Vo and eighth grader Sabina Dizdar are first place winners of the Siteman-sponsored art contest “Keep Kids Tobacco Free.” They were recognized at a Bayless school assembly, Tuesday, November 18. (click here to see the winning entries )

Students at each school were asked to design artwork encouraging young people to be smoke-free and the winning artwork is emblazoned on t-shirts given to the school’s student body.

“It’s exciting to know area children are knowledgeable about the dangers of cigarette smoking and interested in helping others ‘kick the habit,’” says Timothy Eberlein, MD, Siteman Cancer Center director.

Essay winner and eighth grader Donna Dinh was also recognized at the assembly as winner of the essay contest with her piece “Why You Shouldn’t Smoke.” The essay spoke of her father who smokes and her plea for him to quit. “Hopefully this essay would help you to stay away from smoking or put an end to it,” she wrote.

Siteman Cancer Center representatives presented Vo, Dizdar and Dinh with gift certificates to the South County Mall. Runners up received tickets to an upcoming St. Louis Rams game and select students will attend the “Siteman Smokeout for Life” at Barnes-Jewish Hospital on Thursday, November 20.

Also, St. Louis Rams linebacker Chris Chamberlain attended the assembly to sign autographs and tell of his own experience with smoking. He spoke of a teammate at the University of Tulsa, who was among the most talented players he’s seen, but did not make the NFL due to his smoking habit.

“It shows how destructive smoking can be,” said Chamberlain.