As one of the first implementors of the CATCH My Breath program, Wareham Middle School has championed the curriculum and its resources to 7th grade students since the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. Wareham Middle School’s health teacher, Harriette Sullivan, covers the CATCH My Breath program in her classroom 4 times during each school year in order to teach her 7th graders about the dangers of e-cigarettes and provide them with the tools needed to resist falling victim to peer pressure and manipulative advertisements. Many of Sullivan’s students have shared with her the success they have experienced with rejecting e-cigarettes thanks to the CATCH My Breath program, which led to a CNN feature on her classroom in August 2018. Due to her successful application of the program, Sullivan was appointed as the first official CATCH My Breath Ambassador last fall.
Since implementation at Wareham Middle School in 2017, the CATCH My Breath program has yielded significant results, most notably the percentage of students recognizing that e-cigarette vapor does not consist of harmless water vapor increased from 69% to 85%. Upon completion of the CATCH My Breath program, 84.6% of students agreed that the program increased their overall knowledge of e-cigarette use, and furthermore, 79.5% of students agreed that if they are offered a puff on an e-cigarette, they feel confident using a refusal skill from the program.
“Harriette fosters student involvement in decision-making, particularly around peer pressure and allows them the opportunity, with information in hand, to extend their voices when they are in difficult social situations.”- Andrea Schwamb, Assistant Superintendent, Wareham School District
“It has been wonderful having Mrs. Sullivan involved in the program. Our students are engaging in valuable lessons and discussions on an epidemic that is targeting our youth. We need our children to be empowered with facts so that they can say no to unhealthy pressures such as e-cigarettes.”- Tracie Cote, Principal, Wareham Middle School
“Our [CATCH My Breath breakout] group thinks that people start vaping because they don’t know about the dangerous ingredients and if people knew they wouldn’t start.”- James McEwan, Student, Wareham Middle School
“A lot of kids are experimenting at this age, and it’s important they have the tools to say ‘no,’ because that’s not going to be offered in other classes.”- Harriette Sullivan, Health Teacher, Wareham Middle School
“It was a lesson learned to stay away from certain things that aren’t good for you. We learned all about the false advertising and that there is actually nicotine in [these devices.]”- Kaylee Allen, Student, Wareham Middle School
“It helped me out a lot. I used to vape and smoke weed and now I don’t because I don’t want to get an addiction. And yes, I do think they should have it [health class] so if they’re like me [and] smoke, you can show them why they shouldn’t. This weekend, I was asked to smoke weed but I didn’t, and now I know to say no to smoking.”- Anonymous Student, Wareham Middle School
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