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Homer visits second graders at Myers Elementary School

The second grade class at Myers Elementary School in the Bellwood-Antis School District learned an important lesson yesterday: “Be all that you can be.”
Yesterday afternoon, Sandi Smith, the Homerun Against Drugs team manager, brought along a slew of props and her favorite anti-drug mascot, Homer, to the all purpose room of the elementary school to discuss with the students the advantages of good choices and healthy exercise, and the disadvantages of using illegal drugs, tobacco and alcohol.
“We’ve chosen to speak with the second graders because we feel they are at the age group where they will understand what we’re talking about,” said Smith, whose organization is based in Nevada. “We’ve spread the word to 325 students in the Hollidaysburg School District last week, and also to about 230 students in Tyrone. Our next goal is to see the more than 600 kids in the Altoona School District next month.”
Smith used a variety of props, including Mr. Bad Mouth to show the effects of tobacco on the mouth and teeth; a “jar of tar” which showed students how much tar is in one year’s worth of cigarettes; and a “jar of pickled livers,” which demonstrated what alcohol can do to internal organs.
The children responded well to Smith’s questions, shouting slogans such as: “Set goals, don’t give up” and “stay healthy, and exercise.”
Following Smith’s talk, she invited third grade teacher and coach of the 2003 state champion Bellwood-Antis baseball team Steve Conlon to speak with the students.
Using his recent accomplishment as a state champion, Conlon explained to his students that his team couldn’t have gotten as far as it did if the players used drugs, alcohol or tobacco.
“This is a great opportunity for me to speak a little and maybe help someone out,” said Conlon. “Learning this type of information at a young age is very important. I’m a familiar face around here and I hope that helps these kids better understand the dangers of using drugs and alcohol.”
Following the presentation, the children cheered as they had the opportunity to hug, “high-five” and shake hands with the anti-drug mascot. Also, Smith passed out personalized books to all the students that described a trip to the ballpark with Homer. Each separate book contained that specific student’s name and his or her friend’s name. Smith said this special touch encourages students to become more interested in the book, which teaches life lessons about drugs and alcohol.