By: Alyson Rackley, Contributing Writer
On October 1, 2019, Gracie Schultz, CHS senior, had the opportunity to participate in the Youth Community Coalition Legislative Forum at the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, MO.
Matt Smith, CHS principal, brought the Youth Community Coalition Legislative Forum to Schultz’s attention. The forum explored how vaping products have become very popular among high schoolers. Schultz previously presented the same information to the Centralia City Council and the Centralia School Board. Two other mid-Missouri teens spoke on the issue of vaping at the forum and discussed how it has become an epidemic within high schools.
Schultz was already prepared with information because this was her third time presenting, but she had to do some different planning for a larger audience. Schultz said, “I prepared by noting who was going to be attending and how I should set forth my ideas in the most effective way.”
This large forum was televised on two different news channels, and there were around 100 people attending. When Schultz presented, she spoke in front of Missouri state senators, representatives and legislators.
The forum consisted of three total topics, one being youth vaping. A doctor and speakers presented the impacts of vaping. Schultz and two other high school students shared their experiences regarding vaping and how it is impacting others and their schools.
Schultz said, “This opportunity was something new I would have never expected myself doing, however, it has made me want to continue making a difference on this topic.” She believes that the legal age to purchase tobacco products should be pushed to 21. She thinks this effort will not stop the issue at first, but it will make a difference in years to come.
See the full article on the Columbia Tribune website: