Teenagers’ anti-tobacco message punctuated with song and dance

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Members of a nationally recognized song and dance group onTuesday visited West Lincoln Attendance Center to encourage thelower grades to “Reject All Tobacco.”

Terrance the rat and the RAT Pack, including three dancers fromthe local area, entertained a large crowd of students with a45-minute informative program interlaced with dance routines. TheRAT Pack is a program of the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi.The program has been in place for six years.

Boyce Christopher, who lead the group Tuesday, said statisticsshow the RAT Pack message gets through to the students byreinforcing what they learn in the classroom and making itentertaining.

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“(Statistics) show that in middle school tobacco use is down 33percent. That was our target group when we started,” she said.

Summer Rials, of Wesson, said the program’s success is in itsdance routines.

“It’s communicating in a different way to them,” she said.

Ainsley Zigler, of Wesson, said she believes the program reachesa lot of the students.

“I think we do because of some of the reactions we get. You cansee they get it,” she said.

Kelsey Ann Jackson, of Brookhaven, agreed, adding that some ofthe students even become interested in dance.

“When I first started I saw some kids and now I see them tryingout for the team,” she said.

Each of the six RAT Pack teams visit two schools a month.