Region – Gianna Ruffing of Marlborough, a fourth-grade student at the St. Bernadette’s School in Northborough, and Hritika Chaturvedi, a sixth-grade student at the Sherwood Middle School in Shrewsbury, have earned top honors in the 2015 Massachusetts Medical Society and MMS Alliance Anti-Tobacco Poster Contest, an annual educational event to alert schoolchildren to the dangers of tobacco and smoking.
Gianna and Hritika were two of just 12 winners selected from more than 3,400 entries to the competition. Both entries – Gianna’s entitled “How can Tobacco Affect People?,” and Hritika’s, “Be Smart. Don’t Start,” – depicted the ill effects of smoking on health, such as cancer and heart disease.
The competition, open to youngsters in grades 1-6 throughout Massachusetts, asks students to create an original poster that ties in with certain themes for their grade. The themes by grades are: grades 1 and 2: show how tobacco is bad for your body; grades 3 and 4: show how using tobacco affects other people; grades 5 and 6: why I won’t start. Four entries are selected in each category, and the winning entries are chosen on the basis of originality, artistic merit, and relevance to the theme for the grades.
Winners were honored at a special June 3 event at the Massachusetts State House in Boston, where they received a certificate from the Medical Society and a gift card for books as prizes. Winning entries will also be included in a 2016 calendar produced by the Medical Society that will be distributed to schools, pediatricians, and family physicians across the commonwealth.
Presenting the awards were Dennis Dimitri, M.D., president of the Massachusetts Medical Society; Steven Qi, a Tufts University Medical School student and member of the Medical Society’s Committee on Student Health and Sports Medicine; and Tami Gouveia, executive director of Tobacco Free Mass. This year marked the 20th year that the Massachusetts Medical Society has conducted the contest. The winning entries may be viewed at www.massmed.org/tobacco.