By STEVEN J. FERRARI - sferrari@nwherald.com

From the editor: Area schools help ‘kick butts’

As a former smoker – I’ve been smoke-free for close to a year – it was nice to get an e-mail from McHenry County lauding the efforts of six area high schools which recently celebrated National Kick Butts Day.
Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Johnsburg, Marian Central, Woodstock and Woodstock North each participated in the event, in collaboration with the county Department of Health and Reality Illinois Teens Against Tobacco. Each high school chose a different theme to represent the damaging effects of smoking.
Worldwide, tobacco use kills one person every 6.4 seconds, according to the health department. Who knows how many people have died from smoking-related causes just in the time it takes to read these paragraphs.
Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to turn in their cigarettes and sign no-smoking pledges as a first step toward healthy living.
For information on smoking cessation classes, call 815-334-4510 or visit www.mcdh.info.

Congratulations to Hope Olson, a senior at Crystal Lake South High School. Olson was named a finalist in the “Frame My Future” scholarship contest, sponsored by Church Hill Classics, a Connecticut company that sells diploma and other document frames.
Olson could win a $1,000 college scholarship if she is one of the top five vote-getters in the online contest. The contestant receiving the most votes will receive an additional $1,000 for the scholarship fund.
To view Olson’s entry in the contest, visit www.diplomaframe.com/entries/8823_olson.cfm.
Voting ends 9 a.m. May 5.

Members of the Cary-Grove High School swing choir recently had the opportunity to show off their considerable talents in the happiest place on Earth.
The group traveled to Walt Disney World in Florida, where they took the stage and performed at the Waterside Stage. The performance was part of the Disney Performing Arts Program, which offers bands, choral, dance and auxiliary performers the chance to learn, perform and compete at Walt Disney World.
For information, call 800-603-0552 or visit www.disneyperformingarts.com.

If you love taking pictures – and judging by the number of e-mail I get, a lot of you do – take note of the McHenry County Photography Contest, sponsored by Nancy Shepherd Photography and the McHenry County Fair.
The contest is open to all levels of photographers. Categories include nature and landscape, people, travel, animals, elements of design, the path to green, digital darkroom and black and white (any subject).
Contest fees are $10 per entry, $40 for five entries and $60 for 10 entries. For students, fees are $5 per entry, $20 for five entries and $35 for 10 entries.
The contest runs until Aug. 1, but entry forms must be submitted by June 15. Top contenders in each category will be displayed at the Woodstock Opera House in October and November.
Rules, specifications and information is available at www.mchenrycountyfair.com or e-mailnshepherdphoto@sbcglobal.net.

• Steven J. Ferrari can be reached at 815-526-4458 or via e-mail at neighbors@nwherald.com.

Copyright © 2014 Northwest Herald. All rights reserved.