Holy Family student wins Tobacco-Free Coalition bumper sticker contest
By April Garon
NATCHEZ — Holy Family School kindergartener Zoey Wiley was filled with anticipation while waiting to discover if she won the 2013 R.A.T. Bumper Sticker Design Contest.
“I was shaking,” the 6-year-old said.
The contest, hosted by the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Adams, Jefferson and Franklin counties, was open to all Mississippi students from kindergarten through third grade. The promotion featured the coalition’s motto of Reject All Tobacco (R.A.T.).
Zoey’s mother, Kishara Wiley, said she was happy her child won the contest, but the recognition wasn’t a shock for her young over-achiever.
“She excels academically a lot,” Kishara Wiley said. “She is on the honor roll, and has won other contests in the past.”
Her mother said she’s been drawing since early in preschool.
“I used purple, blue, pink and red in the design,” Zoey said. “They are my favorite colors.”
Her artistic inclinations aren’t just visual — Zoey also sings in the choir at Pilgrim Baptist Church.
Zoey also loves to read, and said she can even read her mother’s books.
“Some words, she had to help me with, but some I sounded out with phonics,” Zoey said.
The bumper sticker design features Terrance the Rat, the coalition’s friendly mascot, and had to demonstrate the importance of breathing smoke-free air.
Zoey included a cigarette in her design and the slogan “No more smoking for the world.”
Kishara Wiley, a high school physical science and math teacher in Tensas parish, said she sees the influence of tobacco in her classroom.
“Peer pressure leads kids to experiment and their attitude changes,” Kishara Wiley said. “I see my students being pressured into doing things below their character.”
She said Reject All Tobacco is an outstanding program for young kids.
“It will help lower the death toll that tobacco holds over the state,” Kishara Wiley said.