Students from 38 States Recognized for Achievements in National Tar Wars Poster, Video Contests

Students visit Capitol Hill to share their message of tobacco use prevention

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 6052

WASHINGTON — Alana McGuinness, a fifth-grader from Bristol, R.I., was named the 2011 Tar Wars national poster contest winner Monday, July 11, at a ceremony during the Tar Wars National Conference in Washington, D.C. As the national poster contest winner, Alana receives a family trip worth up to $2,000.

A national video contest was added to the Tar Wars program this year in order to allow students another medium for sharing positive messages about being tobacco-free. Blaire McCarthy, a fifth-grader from St. Petersburg, Fla., was named the winner of the inaugural video competition. As winner of the national video contest, Blaire was presented with a $500 gift card and a $500 prize will be awarded to her school.

Tar Wars is a tobacco-free education program administered by the American Academy of Family Physicians that increases fourth- and fifth-grade students’ awareness of attitudes about tobacco use and the effects of tobacco on the body. Since it was established in 1988, Tar Wars has reached more than 8 million children with its tobacco-free message.

The Tar Wars program culminates with its annual poster contest, which encourages children to create posters that emphasize the positive aspects of not using tobacco.

In addition to Alana and Blaire, three runners-up, six honorable mentions and the state-level poster contest winners were recognized at the awards ceremony. The 30 state poster contest winners in attendance received a prize packet and a special gift.


  • Second place: Brooklyn Driver — Lafayette, Tenn.
  • Third place: Hady Hernandez — Houston, Texas
  • Fourth place: Hayden Simmons — Ranburne, Ala.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Fifth place: Rachel Whitlach — St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Sixth place: Madelyn Noyes — Springfield, Ill.
  • Seventh place: Rachel Colligan — Parkville, Mo.
  • Eighth place: Meghan Johnson — Westfield, N.J.
  • Ninth place: Kelli Taylor — Ovett, Miss.
  • Tenth place: Shayla French — Plymouth, Mich.

The winning posters were chosen from 38 entries, all of which were winners of state-level Tar Wars poster contests. Posters were judged on their artistry, creativity, originality and their ability to communicate a clear and positive message about being tobacco-free.

Digital images of all winning posters can be downloaded here( Poster artwork is also displayed in schools and is reproduced on promotional items available at

In addition to recognizing poster and video contest winners, the Tar Wars National Conference allows students to voice their opinions about tobacco use and tobacco legislation to their congressional leaders during visits to Capitol Hill.

Tar Wars is the only youth tobacco education program offered at this time by a medical specialty organization in the United States. It reaches approximately 500,000 students annually. Family physicians and other health care professionals present Tar Wars programs to fourth- and fifth-graders in their local schools, during which they talk with youth about how tobacco makes one’s breath smell and how smoking can impair one’s ability to be active and play sports. The students also learn about practical issues, such as how to respond to peer pressure and advertising, and how much it costs to use tobacco for a week, a month, a year and over a lifetime.

Tar Wars has been presented in all 50 states as well as in Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Tar Wars is supported in part by the AAFP Foundation(

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