News and Events

Local Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Members Attend Region Meeting in Wauchula County
November 11, 2016

Hurricane Matthew may have cancelled the originally scheduled Regional SWAT Retreat, but it didn’t dampen spirits during the make-up meeting held on November 5, 2016 at the Hardee County Health Department in Wauchula, Florida. Kyle and Hannah Workington, two of our top students from Lake Placid High School, attended to represent the SWAT Chapter of Highlands County. The morning was kicked off with interactive icebreaker activities to introduce themselves to other region 3 SWAT members and to get to know them for the remaining of the day filled with group activities.

Kyle is in his junior year at Lake Placid High School and has been a part of the dual SWAT/PAC club since he was in 7th grade. He currently serves as the club Vice President, is the President of the Junior Class, in National Honor Society and was the SWAT Club King at Homecoming in 2015 and 2016. Kyle plans on pursuing a career in either IT or in Politics and is smart enough to do it! “Kyle is an incredibly smart young man, has a great head on his shoulders, is always willing to help out and I love his enthusiasm for tobacco prevention. He is a STELLAR SWAT youth and a great candidate for next year’s Youth Advocacy Board. The SWAT Chapter of Highlands County is lucky to have such a strong leader,” said Amanda John.

His younger sister Hannah, has been in PAC since she was in 6th Grade. She is currently in her Freshman year at Lake Placid High School and is one of the most active and dependable SWAT Students in the entire SWAT Chapter of Highlands County. She currently does not hold an office, but will be encouraged to do so next year. She was also the SWAT Club Queen at Homecoming in 2016. “We are so lucky to have such a devoted, sweet and caring young girl in our SWAT Chapter of Highlands County and are super thrilled that she has 3 more years in SWAT before she graduates. This girl will move mountains and is an awesome voice for tobacco prevention in Highlands County, as well as statewide,” said Amanda John.

One of the first topics of discussion at the training was time management. It allowed the SWAT members time to reflect on how to better manage their time and, included an exercise to figure out where most of their time was being spent. This was an excellent tool for them to use in their personal lives, but also a unique way to look at their time management of SWAT events, meeting etc.

Another large portion of the meeting was spent hearing from prospective YAB (youth advocacy board) candidates. “It was so awesome to see the other students their age stand up in front of everyone and profess their desire to be the head and the voice of tobacco issues in the state,” Said Amanda John, Community Health Advocate and SWAT Coordinator for Highlands County. “I think it has definitely encouraged Kyle and Hannah to stand out, speak up and maybe even run for any YAB vacancies next year!”
After all presentations, elections were made and region three is excited to introduce four wonderful new YAB students Allyssa Williams (Osceola), Nicole Jimenez (Seminole), Emma Buscemi (Hernando) and Sachit Gali (Sarasota). We are very excited for all the awesome things they will bring this year.

The Regional SWAT Training is always something to look forward to and this year that was very evident. Kyle and Hannah talked the whole way home about their exciting day and look forward to participating next year as well!

If you are interested in joining the SWAT/PAC Club in Highlands County, we have clubs at Avon Park High School, Avon Park Middle School, Hill Gustat Middle School, Lake Placid High School, Lake Placid Middle School, Sebring High School and Sebring Middle School. Please contact Amanda John at or (863) 441-5101 for more information on how to join.