SHERBURNE – Thursday morning, Sherburne-Earlville teachers and students will arrive at school to find a parking lot chock-full with chalk outlines of bodies and quotes. No one is actually planning to commit murder in the S–E parking lot; instead one audacious middle schooler has taken upon herself to lead a “Chalking the Walk,” in an effort to raise awareness of the deaths associated with tobacco-related illnesses. Eighth grader and Reality Check member Katie Rounds and her friends are prepared to litter the S-E parking lot with chalked quotes from tobacco companies, appalling smoking-related statistics, and body outlines representing the average 70 people who die daily in New York State from smoking-related ailments.
Rounds and her friends intend to initiate the “Chalking the Walk” Wednesday night, provided it doesn’t rain, because Thursday is the Great American Smoke-Out – a day on which smokers are asked to reflect upon the consequences of smoking and encourage them to quit for a day. Schools are an important target for anti-smoking organizations because teens are one of tobacco companies’ main advertising quarries, according to the Reality Check website.