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Youth Tobacco Education, Advocacy, and Media Program
How Can You Join the Fight?
What's Everyone Else Saying?
The Schools
  Arcadia Valley R-II
  Bell City R-II
  Cape Girardeau Central High
  Greenville R-II
  Holcomb R-III
  Kennett 39
  New Madrid Co. R-I
  North Pemiscot Co.
  Notre Dame
  Puxico R-VIII
  Senath-Hornersville C-8
Who's Running This Show?

Youth Tobacco Education, Advocacy, and Media Program

The Youth Tobacco Education, Advocacy, and Media (T.E.A.M.) is a program of Youth Empowerment in Action. The pilot program was launched in December 2007 for the Spring semester. The first part of the program consisted of 20 schools across southeastern Missouri.

This program is for you, the YOUTH of this generation, to fight back against that nasty habit known as cigarette smoking. We're giving you the microphone and you're letting us know what you think. Twenty schools participated in our Spring 2008 kickoff program and we now have 10 of their videos playing throughout the state on cable TV. On top of that, select students from every participating school recieved Apple Ipods for kicking tobacco industry butt with their slogans. We want to hear what you think about tobacco, and we're not going to stop until your voices are heard.

Last year, we worked with twenty schools in southeast Missouri. Check out some of these winning slogans:

How can you join the fight?

I'm glad you asked. We want you to use media for good. So far kids have made posters, written articles that have been published in local newspapers, taken photos, and created videos to speak out against tobacco. One example of a video that is now being run on cable TV commercial breaks is one produced by Arcadia Valley High School. The video showed random people in various locations holding a sign that said messages such as "I fell asleep smoking and now I'm homeless" or "Instead of giving my daughter lunch money, I use it for cigarettes". The end tag line said "What's Your Secret?" This video was an excellent example of kids using creativity to show how smoking leads to very negative and destructive results in person's life. Now it's your chance. We want more posters, more articles, more photos, and more videos on display all across the state of Missouri, to let people know that you are going to take a stand. Join the fight against big tobacco, let's make Missouri "Show Me Smoke Free".

What's Everyone Else Saying?

We caught up with some of you, the youth, and their teachers to see their thoughts about the Spring 2008 project. Here's what they had to say:

The Schools

Arcadia Valley R-II

Arcadia Valley is located 80 miles south of St. Louis and two hours from Cape Girardeau. Nestled among the highest mountains of the Missouri Ozarks, the Historic Arcadia Valley is embedded with rushing mountain streams and is home to the cities of Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob, all founded in the 1800s.

Arcadia Valley R-II, with current Principal Lance Sprenkel, is located in Ironton, and hosts 400 students. Mr. Don Barzowski’s Civic Class worked on the YEA project focusing on how smokers justify their smoking spending even at the expense of others. They independently shot four Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) and showed all the announcements with various non smoking themes to the whole student body at a talent and variety show. Mr. Barzowski, also presented the professionally developed “what’s your secret” to their Board of Education who gave tremendous support for their work in the project.

Bell City R-II

Bell City is located in Stoddard County with a population of 461 residents in an area only .5 square mile. Stoddard County has a total of 29,790 residents and is located three hours south of St. Louis and two hours south west of Cape Girardeau.

Bell City R-II, with current principal Mathew Asher,156 students, and Sponsor / School Nurse Pam Lape, supported the project in partnership with teachers and conducted a slogan/ poster contest throughout the schools. Their winning slogan was “Give Smoking the one, two punch!"

Cape Girardeau Central High

Born on the Mississippi River more than 200 years ago, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, has evolved from a tiny trading post to a frontier settlement governed by the French-Canadians to a thriving, culturally-rich community of 37,000 residents on the world’s only inland cape. The City of Cape Girardeau, located 2 hours south of St. Louis on the Mississippi River, thus celebrated its 200th year in 2006. This river settlement was first founded where the present day Cape Rock Park sits, sometime in 1793, when Don Louis Lorimier was given a land grant by the Spanish government. The town was officially founded on February 3, 1806, in its present location, when Lorimier donated a tract of land for the public good. Today, Cape Girardeau serves as a regional hub for health care, shopping, dining, and education as they host the largest population throughout the south eastern quarter of Missouri.

Dr. Mike Cowan, Principal, and Sponsor Pat Johnson, led the YEA! Youth project with the 1379 strong student body at Cape Girardeau Central High School. The IPOD prize winner gave the prospective of steering youth towards other healthy activities and away from nicotine through the slogan: "Life has thrills, tobacco-use kills!"


The “City with a Smile”, Chaffee, Missouri is located in Northern Scott County in Southeast Missouri about 15 miles South of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Founded in 1905, the name Chaffee comes from the Chaffee Real Estate Company in St. Louis that was involved in the Chaffee land purchase. This mostly rural population is 3,059 with about 1,363 families. The population of the entire County is just over 40,000 with the County Seat named Benton, named after the famous Missourian Thomas Hart Benton.

Chaffee Middle and High Schools have a total population of 302 students. Both of the schools, led by Principal Neil Glass and Sponsor Brandi Ritter, elected to participate in the project with two distinct projects involving the whole student body. The Middle School led a poster slogan contest with the students. The winning slogan centered on a popular behavior in southern Missouri, that of chew tobacco, a very harmful habit resulting in the cancers that can occur very early in a young person’s life. The winning slogan, "Don't dip you won't have a lip", is very accurate, especially for this popular habit in Missouri.

The High School led a campaign that produced a video with the theme being “don’t be a statistic”. Again, a very factual product about the statistics of smoking and chewing.


Cooter is a city in Pemiscot County located on the very bottom south eastern edge of Missouri’s boot heel. The population is 440 people, 176 households, and 118 families residing in the city. One tradition says the community was named for an abundance of coots, ducklike aquatic birds; another says it was named for a prominent local family, the Coutres. Pemiscot County has a population of fewer than 20,000 and borders two Missouri counties, two Arkansas counties, and one Tennessee Counties.

Cooter High School, of grades 7 – 12, hosts an enrollment of 196 students. The Cooter High School Project, supported by Principal Delane Beckwith and Sponsor Jennifer Ray, developed a non smoking youth campaign around their Prom and the statistics of cancer rates. Having the background of prom decorations, with the gowns and tuxedos, the student actors targeted the youth audience about the outcomes of cancer, including death, and ended with the prom queen being the statistic and the slogan: “One life, one chance, your choice!”


Gideon, Missouri lies 20 miles west of the Mississippi River just off Interstate 55 between St. Louis, Missouri and Memphis, Tennessee. This places Gideon right in the middle of the Missouri Bootheel. The area is rich historically as Gideon was once a swampland southwest of New Madrid, the location at which Desoto set foot on Missouri soil in 1541. The area was settled by hunters and fur trappers until 1900 at which time a sawmill became the leading employer. This was vital in building the town of Gideon and also it became the leading manufacturer of wooden boxes in the United States during World War II.

The "company town" built around Gideon-Anderson factory and the sawmill no longer exists as Gideon has become a suburb community for area towns with their active industries. Families still choose Gideon for residence because of its excellent school system. Land once considered worthless swamp now yields farming crops such as cotton, soybeans, wheat, corn, milo, and vegetables.

With a student population of 171, Gideon High School participated in the YEA! Youth Project by leading both a poster/ slogan contest and a PSA production. The poster contest centered on the facts of smoking and effects on all. The winner portrayed a poster with a mother with a baby in her womb with the slogan: “Stop smoking – You’re killing me!” The video announcement also centered on the negative outcomes of smoking and chewing with a theme of what the consequences would be. The production placed youth around a bonfire where they burned money, symbols for time (ie clocks, watches, etc.), and ultimately life. Their product title for the PSA is “Tobacco – a waste of life!”

Greenville R-II

Greenville is the County Seat in Wayne County and has a population of 444. Greenville is located on the edge of the Ozark Mountains situated in a beautiful hilly forested landscape. The city is named after Fort Greene Ville, Ohio (now Greenville, Ohio), the site where Gen. Anthony Wayne signed a treaty with the Indians after defeating them in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. It's interesting how the county (Wayne) was named for the military hero and the county seat (Greenville) was named for the place he was most famous.

The Greenville School, enrollment 286, and Principal Todd Porter, led a no smoking campaign around their mascot the bear. The business department teachers, Kelly Burton and Donita Burchard, guided volunteer youth in a coordinated slogan and PSA campaign of “Bear Up against Tobacco – We know you can!”

Holcomb R-III

Holcomb, population 696, is a city in Dunklin County, in the Kennett metro area. [NOTE: This is not the only community in Missouri named Holcomb. Holcomb is located in the bootheel area of southeastern Missouri about 60 miles from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Nearby communities include Clarkton, Campbell, Gideon, St. Francis Arkansas, Kennett, Piggott Arkansas, Malden and Greenway Arkansas. Dunklin County, population 43,000+, was organized in 1845 and is named for Daniel Dunklin, a former Governor of Missouri.

Holcomb R-III consisting of 7 – 12, and 253 students, created a campaign with many venues. First, with Principal Ashley McMillian, and Sponsor Kris Noblin, the youth completed a slogan contest with the winning slogan the theme of one of their PSA’s. In the first PSA, the youth were pictured stating one of many important smoking dangers facts and ending with the slogan: “Don’t get addicted to this deadly habit – take that cigarette and straight up snap it!” The second PSA used a theme from the Cave Man Portrayal on TV, and had a cave man interpreting a young woman’s story of stopping smoking. The ending, of course, is “it’s so easy, even a caveman can do it!”

Kennett 39

Kennett, Missouri boasts a population of 11,072 and where the popular singer, Sheryl Crow, calls it her home town. In the Southeast Lowland Region of Missouri on a Delaware and Shawnee Indian Village site, Kennett was laid out as the seat of Dunklin County, in 1846. The town was first called Chilletecaux for a Delaware Indian living there at the time. In 1851 it was renamed Kennett for the Mayor of St. Louis, L. M. Kennett. The county name honors Missouri Governor Daniel Dunklin.

Kennett is the seat of the first “Bootheel” county formed after Missouri became a state. The extreme southeast counties of Dunklin (1845) and Pemiscot (1851), with a section of New Madrid (1812), are said to be part of Missouri through the efforts of J. Hardeman Walker, pioneer planter in Pemiscot County. Kennett is 100 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee, and 200 miles south of St. Louis, Missouri.

Enrollment at Kennett High School is 539, and Principal Edward Siebenhuener, Deb Cook and Bethany Britt, Sponsors, supported the Student Council youth in developing a non smoking campaign. The youth planned a PSA around the famous fairy tale of ‘sleeping beauty’ where the Prince finds the young maiden and awakens her with a kiss. Unfortunately, this sleeping beauty had been exposed to too much second hand smoke by the maid of the castle. When she didn’t awake, the message given to the community was that “Smoking was no fairy tale!”

The students of the High School participated in a lively slogan contest and the local winner was chosen for the saying, “hang tough, don’t puff!” One of the runner up slogans, was selected as the Project Wide slogan of the year for its originality and message to all state communities. The selection of: “Show Me – Smoke free!” is highlighted as this year’s top slogan.


The City of Malden, located five miles south of the north boundary line of Dunklin County, sits on a sand ridge extending north and south between the lowlands of New Madrid County on the east and the foothills of the Ozarks on the west. Malden forms an important link in the chain of progressive cities that extend from north to south through this part of Missouri, which is called the Bootheel. The origins of Malden differ from story to story, but there are three most famous. One tradition says the community was named for Malden, MA; another says it was named for Col. T.H. Maulden, landowner, and the other says that a young civil engineer, Otto, who had charge of laying out the new town said that one morning, after staying at a farm house all night, a Major Clark said: "Otto, I know what to name the new town -- I dreamed it was named Malden." Whichever you choose, the town now hosts 4,659 residents and is the home of the Bootheel Youth Museum.

The Malden Principal Ron Golden, and sponsor Mary Howell, a health teacher and coach, led students from both schools, Students against Destructive Decisions (SADD), with the slogan contest, a rap song supported by Mindset Management of the YEA Project, and a PSA. The slogan winner of the school was "Smoking is not a life will only give you cancer!!" The PSA was built around how nicotine had hurt different people in different ways and asked the question “What will you do? Will you do anything?”

New Madrid Co. R-I

New Madrid (pronounced New MA-drid, short a as in "mad") is a City and county located in the Bootheel of Missouri. The county was organized in 1812 and named for the district located in the region during Spanish rule, Nuevo Madrid, after Madrid, Spain. As of last census, the county population was 19,760 and its county seat, New Madrid has a population of 3,334.

The area is most famous for being the site of a series of over 1,000 earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, ranging up to approximately magnitude 8 or 9, the most powerful non-subduction zone earthquake recorded in the United States. The earthquake was felt as far away as the East Coast. The city also remembered as being the nearby location for the Mississippi River military engagement, the Battle of Island Number Ten, during the Civil War.

New Madrid School, grades 7-12, has 171 students and the Principal is John Garner. The youth group that led the no smoking campaign was the Leadership Academy supported by Chris Hodges, the sponsor. This group led the entire school through a “Smokes No Joke!” campaign which included the slogan contest, presentations to the elementary schools in the district; a joke contest with all ages, and a PSA. The entire staff, including cooks and janitors, on the presentation day wore a “smoke’s no joke” t shirt and they were handed out as prizes for the winners of the joke contest. They also handed out factual pamphlets to all the students to increase awareness. The PSA was a series of shots of youth playing sports and quoting the Smoke’s no Joke in all of their sporting events.

North Pemiscot Co.

Wardell is a town in Pemiscot County with a small population of only 268. Pemiscot County, named for the local bayou, has an estimated population of 19,571. Located at junction Route A and Route B, residents say as the crow flies, it’s 160 miles south of St. Louis, but nearer to Arkansas and Tennessee. Wardell’s claim of fame is that Barbara Moore, an actress, was born there. She was in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., an American television series that was broadcast on NBC from 1964, to 1968 by MGM.

North Pemiscot, Principal Chris Moore, has an enrollment of 203 students. Their Student Council, led by Jason Ward, Sponsor, led the don’t smoke campaign and have finished a rap song that the students created. Their winning slogan from the school contest was “Don’t be guilty, Drugs are filthy.”

Notre Dame

Notre Dame Regional High School is located near Cape Girardeau, Missouri, with a population of approx. 36,000. Notre Dame Regional High School mission is to foster and build upon the teaching mission of the church. The school offers a disciplined environment which rewards excellence in scholarship, leadership and Christian service. The Notre Dame faculty is comprised of over 40 clergy, religious lay men and women who are fully certified.

Notre Dame High School had an enrollment of over 500 youth this year. The group, Students against Destructive Decisions led the school in the slogan contest, supported by their Sponsor Angie Schaefer. Their winner used a play on words to convey the message “don’t be a butt-head, don’t smoke.”


Puxico R-VIII

Puxico, Missouri, in Stoddard County, is 82 miles N of Jonesboro, Arkansas and 116 miles S of St. Louis, Missouri. The city has a population of 1,145. Stoddard County was organized January 2, 1835, and named for Amos Stoddard, first American Civil Commandant of Upper Louisiana. The population is 29,705 and the County Seat is Bloomfield.

Puxico School, Principal Cindy Crabb, and Sponsor Debbie Simpson, completed a comprehensive campaign with several venues, products, and target audiences. The groups that led the campaign were the communications and media classes. They produced and placed all their projects in the elementary school, the high school, and the community. One: PSA of ‘Smokums the bear’ giving out cigarettes ending with “who are tobacco companies really targeting” Two: School Newspaper Project full of anti smoking articles completed by students. Three: Poster Contest with “Tobacco: the day and nighttime teeth staining, cancer causing bad smelling, make you look 20 years older ….. Medicine.”


Senath-Hornersville C-8

Senath, Mo. is Senath, Missouri, in Dunklin County, is 36 miles NE of Jonesboro, Arkansas and 68 miles N of Memphis, Tennessee. There are 1,650 residents in the city

Enrollment of the school is 245. Principal Mr. Kim Campbell and Sponsor Jeana Mason led the campaign and the winning slogan was "Don't be a wacko, stamp out tobacco!"



Cardwell is a city in Dunklin County, MO with a population of 761. The county name honors Missouri Governor Daniel Dunklin.

Southland’s enrollment is 154 and current Principal is Mr. Teddy M Wilkerson. Jennifer Davis, sponsor, let the youth group in several activities cumulating into three campaign pieces. Project: Shooting baby butts and cig butts side by side, also posters. Ends with “some butts are worth dying for but not these!” PSA: We have made costumes of 3 cigarettes, a peppermint, a pack of juicy fruit, and and a bag of sunflower seeds. We have an announcer and a ref. We have a wrestling ring set up and the alternatives to smoking are going to "fight the nicotine cravings." Some Butts Are Worth Dying For But Not These".


Marble Hill is a city in Bollinger County, Missouri. Marble Hill was established in 1842 as New California; it was renamed Dallas in 1851. In 1868, the name was changed again, this time to Marble Hill, in order to prevent confusion between the city and Dallas County, also in Missouri. The population is 1,502 and also serves as the county seat of Bollinger County.

Woodland Middle School has an enrollment of 435 and the current Principal is Mr. Jennings O Wilkinson. Emily Johnson, Middle School Guidance Counselor and Sponsor.
Project: Slogan/Poster Contest: Our project is going to be on display at the Bollinger County Library. The library is an awesome resource to empower our teens. This seems to be a popular 'hang out', especially with the different computer game competitions they host and the high speed internet access. As you can see from the pictures, the left side of our media board contains chewing tobacco facts and the right side contains smoking facts. The middle section of the board is the best part! Our students created magazine covers which are full of anti-tobacco messages. A high school student helped us with the Photoshop program in order to place the pictures on our magazine covers.
“Light up a bright idea- not a cigarette”


Photos by school

Arcadia #1
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Campbell #1
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Cooter #1
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Gideon #1
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Greenville #1
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Holcomb #1
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Kennett #1
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Malden #1
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New Madrid
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Woodland #1
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Woodland #8

Who's Running This show?

This program was put on by the Youth Empowerment in Action project out of the Center for Character and Citizenship at the University of Missouri St. Louis with the State of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The Youth Empowerment in Action program works with youth to help them get involved in their community and make change happen.

Youth Empowerment in Action has four goals:

To contact Youth Empowerment in Action, email