Kids 'Kick Butts'

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By Arin McKenna

Parents may not want their kids “kicking butt,” but Kicking Butts is another matter entirely.
Kicking Butts is a weeklong event at Los Alamos middle and high schools (March 17–21) aimed at encouraging nicotine-free kids.
It revolves around the national Kick Butts Day on March 19, sponsored by the United Health Foundation (kickbuttsday.org).
Bernadette Lauritzen, a prevention specialist with the school system, stresses that despite the name, the campaign not just about cigarettes.
“Kick Butts may be about cigarette butts, but we’re really trying to encompass an educational piece about the fact that e-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes) are not acceptable from a prevention perspective as well,” Lauritzen said.
“People will say, ‘I don’t do tobacco.’ E-cigarettes are really still just as terrible a thing to start and are equally as detrimental. So while you’re not smoking and getting all that tar, just the nicotine jolt by itself is not a good thing.”
In fact, the highlight of the week will be when Robotics Club team member Evan Solms attempts the demolition of an e-cigarette with a robotic unit.
Both schools are hosting a range of fun activities throughout the week. This week and next students are invited to the Hawk Hangout (at both schools) at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, where they can listen to music and create anti-nicotine posters and announcements.
The artwork is part of “STEAMing our way into Kick Butts Day.” STEAM is a takeoff on STEM (a science, technology, engineering and mathematics educational initiative) with an “A” added for art. Participants will be entered in prize-drawings next week.
“As I did not get the crafty gene myself, it’s open to everybody and the winner will be drawn from everybody’s name in a hat that participated,” Lauritzen said. “It won’t be ‘the best,’ because I want the kid who doesn’t think they draw well to have an equal opportunity.”
Local screen printer Becky Hardy designed T-shirts as prizes for participation.
Middle school students will compete for the best skateboard deck anti-nicotine design. Skateboards will be on display at the high school on Monday and Friday and at the middle school Tuesday and Thursday.
Students can vote for their favorite skateboard by dropping coins in a jar. Half the proceeds will benefit the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, a project with CVS Pharmacies. The rest of the proceeds will go to the prevention office, and will be used to have a professional skateboarder do tricks for the kids at both schools later this year.
The middle school will post photos of the skateboards as soon as they are available.
On Wednesday, local oncologist Eric Bernstein will give a brief talk to students on the reasons not to smoke.
To contribute to the campaign, send checks to Prevention Office, Los Alamos High School, 1300 Diamond Drive.
For more information, contact Lauritzen at 663-3252 or B.Lauritzen@laschools.net.