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May 27, 1998

Students compete in anti-drug quiz

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Much of Belize’s crime can be traced to drugs. In an effort to help kids avoid that pitfall the National Drug Abuse Control Council this morning held an unusual competition at Holy Redeemer Parish Hall. News Five’s Arreini Palacio was there.

Fourteen students from thirteen primary schools sweltered in the morning heat as they battled to the end of the third annual Belize District Drug Education Quiz contest. The students

withstood three hours and four rounds of competition with twelve questions each. According to organizer Keith Emmanuel, the contest was not all about drugs.

Keith Emmanuel, Organizer

“We do not try to look at just drug abuse. Many people get involved with drugs because of some problem they are facing whether it is personal, financial or social. So what we are trying to do is tell kids to focus on issues right now so they can deal with them, so that in the end they do not see drugs as an option to not dealing with those issues. If you are having problems drugs is not a solution. We are actually looking at the problem and trying to deal with it.”

And dealing with it is exactly what the students did today….by answering questions on drug information…

Q: “What is the part of the brain that is affected by alcohol?

Kelly Sutherland, Bermudian Landing R.C. School

“The part of that control’s judgement and self control.”

Life skills scenarios…

Q: “You and some friends are by the riverside. One of them lights a cigarette and asks you to smoke one. He said that you will feel good if you smoked. What would you do and why?”

Hughdelle Ysaguirre, Hattieville Pilgrim Fellowship Primary School

“I would not take the cigarette because it is harmful to human beings and it contains a lot of harmful products. It can affect your lungs and give you lung cancer.”

And getting points for each correct answer.

Keith Emmanuel

“Students generally gain points in the first two rounds. They are given five points for general answers for the last two rounds they are graded on a scale of one to ten and it depends on how assertive you are, how you use information to make your decision and give alternatives. If you are doing real well with that the judges are going to score you well especially if you have those three components.”

After months of studies, a tough elimination contest, an intense final tiebreaker and the extreme morning heat, the winners of the Belize District finals were announced.

Contest Announcer

“Hassaram Ramchandani, Maria Waight with one hundred and ninety eight points and third goes to Charity Lambert.”

Hassaram Ramchandani, First Place Winner

“Well first of all I went over my questions and then I asked my teacher for tips on the scenarios because those were kinda hard.”

Maria Waight, Second Place Winner

“Well my mommy took me up and gave me questions, that is how we did it.”

Hassaram Ramchandani

“When they are at this stage they can learn about drugs and when they grow up they can remember this time of education. And when they grow up they can have a better understanding of drugs and how to avoid them.”

Once again Holy Redeemer Primary School walked away with the title with Belize Elementary in the second place. And first time participants Pancotto Methodist of Sand Hill came in third. The first and second place winners, Hassaram Ramchandani and Maria Waight received plaques and will travel to Santa Elena on July fifth for the National Contest. Arreini Palacio for News Five.

National Drug Awareness Week will be held from May thirtieth to June sixth under the theme “Shaping our future, teaching and sharing positive values”.

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