Barrow County students recognized for creativity in “Tar Wars” poster contest

Published: Friday, January 18, 2019

Three elementary school students were recognized during the Barrow County Board of Education meeting this week for creating creative messages to encourage people to avoid tobacco.

All of Barrow County Schools System’s fourth and fifth-grade students recently participated in “Tar Wars” – a tobacco-free education program developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians. The program is provided as part of a partnership with Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Barrow to teach students about the negative effects of tobacco use and advertising techniques the tobacco industry uses to market to young people.

As part of the program, students were challenged to a competition to make the most creative poster to convey the healthy messages they learned through the program. A panel of physicians and administrators from Northeast Georgia Health System selected 10 finalists, then posted the finalists on social media and asked followers to vote for the winners:

  • First Place – “Drugs Destroy” by Alinna De La Graza
  • Second Place – “Light Up Your Life, Not Your Lungs” by Maria Negrete
  • Third Place – “Why Pay For This Trash – When You Can Save Some Cash” by Kellie Sanford

All the students who participated in the poster contest also enjoyed a free ice cream social courtesy of NGMC Barrow. A poster of their winning drawings is being displayed at winners respective schools and NGMC Barrow lobby.

“Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, and statistics show Barrow County is especially at risk,” says Monica Newton, DO, co-chair of NGMC’s Community Health Needs Assessment Process & Implementation Plan. “We must get ahead of the curve and reduce the use of tobacco by students here in Barrow County – where the rate of lung cancer is nearly twice that of neighboring counties”.

“As partners with the Barrow County School System, we hope to improve the health of the community for generations with such educational programs,” added Chad Hatfield, president of NGMC Barrow.

To learn more about NGMC Barrow, visit