Tar Wars Program
In the spring of 2023, all 2,061 fourth and fifth-grade students in the Barrow County School System participated in Tar Wars, a tobacco-free education program developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Through Tar Wars, Northeast Georgia Medical Center Barrow and Barrow County School System partner to teach students about the health effects of tobacco use, the cost associated with using them, and the advertising techniques used by the tobacco industry to market to youth.
About Tar Wars
BCSS has been partnering with Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Barrow since 2018 to teach students about the health effects of long and short term tobacco use, the cost associated tobacco products, the advertisement techniques used to market to youth, and the dangerous and addictive chemicals in tobacco. Ellen Petree, BCSS School & Community Relations Specialists says, “Through the Tar Wars data from pre and post-tests, we see considerable knowledge gained by our students each year. We are also very thankful for our educators incorporating this program into health education each year. It is an honor to partner with Northeast Georgia Medical Center Barrow in this program, since Barrow County has a high incidence of lung cancer. We are convinced knowledge is power, and further educating our youth will affect change.”
As part of the program, all students design a poster to illustrate their learning and discourage tobacco use. Each class selects the top 3 posters to be submitted for district-level competition in the Tar Wars Poster Contest. All posters are sent to Sunita Singh, Public Relations Manage for NGMC Barrow. She and her PR team narrowed several hundred posters to 36 semi-finalists. The Winder Rotary Club narrowed the semi-finalists to 9 finalists by selecting one poster from each elementary school. The hospital then conducted a Facebook voting campaign and the top 3 poster entries were selected. These top 3 posters also went on to the state competition.
Poster Contest Winners
BCSS has been fortunate the last few years to have students’ posters win at the state level. In 2021 we had a 2nd place state winner, in 2022 we swept the state with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place wins, and this year Lynda-Mae Peppers was awarded 2nd place in the state poster contest by Kara Sinkule, Deputy Director for Georgia Healthy Family Alliance. During the Aug. 1 BCSS Board of Education meeting, all 3 BCSS winners were recognized and award prizes from John Neidenbach, Administrator for Northeast Georgia Medical Center Barrow, and Ms. Sinkule recognized Lynda-Mae Peppers.
Congratulations to our system winners for the 2022-23 school year!
1st Place: Lynda-Mae Peppers, HES
(2nd Place for the State!)
2nd Place: Emily Mendoza, BES
3rd Place: Sefora Santa, AES
Making an Impact in Barrow
We are very thankful to our District Partner In Education, Northeast Georgia Medical Center Barrow, for their leadership and support in promoting healthy lifelong choices for students.
Congratulations to our system winners for the 2021-2022 school year!
- 1st Place: Melody Chavous, 5th grade Kennedy Elementary
- 2nd Place: Asare Opoku, 4th grade Yargo Elementary
- 3rd Place: Jayden Babilonia Hernandez, 5th grade Auburn Elementary
After the district competition, our winners then swept the state competition! To recognize them, Tar Wars Statewide Manager Abbey Carr and Deputy Director for Georgian Health Family Alliance Kara Sinkule presented students with their monetary award and certificate at the Oct. 4 Board of Education meeting.
The state rankings were:
- 1st Place in Georgia: Melody Chavous
- 2nd Place in Georgia: Jayden Babilonia Hernandez
- 3rd Place in Georgia: Asare Opoku
TAR WARS 2021-22 DATA
To measure knowledge gained through Tar Wars students are given a pre-test to establish their baseline knowledge. After completing the Tar Wars program, they take a post-test. Data revealed significant gains in all areas especially in student learning about the effects of smoking or vaping on the body, the tactics of targeted advertising, and the influence of peers in making choices. 84% of students reported learning something new from the Tar Wars program.
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