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Red Carpet Treatment For PHAST Advisor
Adelante Continuation High School teacher, Kristi Santos was awarded PHAST Advisor of the Year for her efforts within the program. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS


The Slammies were hosted at Brenden Theatres in Modesto this past week where Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) recognized the PHAST (Protecting Health And Slamming Tobacco) chapter of the year, member of the year and advisor of the year. Riverbank Unified School District Teacher and Leadership Advisor for Adelante High School Kristi Santos walked the red carpet that night to receive the award for Advisor of the Year.

Along with the award ceremony honors, all attendees were invited to a movie premier, treated to free popcorn, and a beverage.

The PHAST program has been implemented in several high schools in Stanislaus County and the advisors meet once a month during the school year.

With only two years under her belt of being a PHAST advisor, this was a huge honor that Santos said she was surprised to receive; however, also very grateful.

PHAST organizers stated that Santos went above and beyond with some of the projects and had great results.

“I think it is a fabulous opportunity for Adelante to be involved in it (PHAST) and I enjoy my role as an advisor,” stated Santos. “It is really something meaningful to me. Tobacco kills and we want to educate people in that.

“They actually honored our little tiny school.”

According to the SCOE website, PHAST (pronounced “fast”) is a youth coalition dedicated to Protecting Health And Slamming Tobacco by organizing peer education and advocacy projects in schools and communities across Stanislaus County. PHAST was formed in August 2005 as a countywide youth coalition with chapters at Ceres, Oakdale, Orestimba and Pitman high schools. Today, the coalition includes more than 800 student members from 31 high schools.

The students that join PHAST are involved in several different projects throughout the year with the Slammies being the final event.

Members of the PHAST organization like Angelo Sanchez created a public service announcement (PSA) depicting some tobacco facts that he starred in and helped direct. PSAs that the students throughout the county created were viewed on screens at the Modesto Nuts game and in certain movie theatres.

There are not just activities in school; they also participate in activities outside of school like passing out waters at the Modesto Marathon.

“The PHAST students are involved in everything in the name of health and promoting good health,” said Santos. “That is one of the opportunities PHAST provides to the students.”

The Modesto Nuts had a PHAST night where all the members in all the schools were invited to attend a game. The night of the baseball game all the schools were allowed onto the field and were introduced. After the game, the students were invited to the party deck of John Thurman Field for a complete catered dinner and were given a baseball shirt.

“They are a wonderful group of people, the PHAST coordinators, Charmaine Monte, Elizabeth Escalante that give us all this support,” said Santos. “The students that participate in PHAST get rewards like PHAST socks and T-shirts just for signing up.”

With the support from the PHAST coordinators and peers, Santos explained that it was a great opportunity for the students.

“They (AHS students) don’t have the opportunity for clubs like a mainstream high school,” added Santos. “PHAST is offering it to them which gives them that sense of achievement, that sense of belonging and learning about commitment that otherwise we would not have that opportunity here.

“It is the kid’s work that made it possible, if they didn’t have a great attitude and participated none of this would have happened. It is a real honor for our school.”