More than 200 students from Van Alstyne Middle School recently signed a pledge that they would not try vaping. This was part of the many activities the middle school coordinated during Red Ribbon Week, the drug-prevention awareness program schools across the nation participate in each October.


Having middle school students commit to not try vaping was the goal of the Vape-Free VA campaign started by Van Alstyne High School junior Makenna Dancer, who created the campaign as her Girl Scouts Gold Award project.


“I first started hearing about kids trying vaping when I was in middle school,” Dancer said. “So I thought it would be a good idea for this project to target middle schoolers to help them learn more about the dangers of vaping and discourage them from trying it.”


Dancer recruited student leaders from a number of organizations at Van Alstyne High School to participate in a video where the students discussed facts about vaping and why they have chosen not to do it.


“I thought seeing older role models talk about the negative effects of vaping might be an effective way to influence younger students to make a conscious decision not to try it,” Dancer said.


Middle school teachers shared the video with students during classes in late October, then distributed pledge sheets for students to sign. Each student who signed a pledge form and turned it in received a “Vape-free VA” button to remind them of their commitment not to vape.


For more information on the campaign, visit VapeFreeVA.com.