Students: Amariun Tyiska, Vivianna Patino, and Maria Gonzalez Reyes
Year in School: Amariun (Junior) Vivianna (Junior) Maria (Sophomore)
Plans After High School: Amariun - Get his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Washington State University; Vivianna - Go to Medical School at Washington State University and eventually become a congress woman; Maria - Attend a Performing Arts School and major in Musical Theater
GPS Focus: SERVICE
What Makes S.W.A.T. #BulldogSTRONG:
With the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, marijuana was legalized for recreational use for adults over 21 in the state of California. However, with its implementation, the increase of availability, use, distribution and amount of vaping devices that are available, Proposition 64 has negatively impacted high school campuses across Kern County and in the state of California. In order to combat these issues facing schools, some students from Golden Valley High School have taken an active role in the fight against marijuana, vaping devices, and tobacco in schools and in the community. Amariun Tyiska, Vivianna Patino, and Maria Gonzales Reyes are active members of S.W.A.T. (Students Working Against Tobacco) a program that is led by the Public Health Department and Kern County Superintendent of Schools. The program seeks to fight the fight against not only tobacco, but marijuana and vaping as well. Students get educated, trained, and made aware of local policies and trends of smoking/vaping devices and e-juices that have become an epidemic among our youth. Amariun, Vivianna, and Maria have not only used their voices to educate other youth participants on the harmful effects of smoking/vaping, they also took lead in facilitating a workshop at the Leaders in Life Youth Conference where more then 2,000 students from all around Kern County were educated on the compounds found in e-cigarette aerosol and BIG Tobacco's manipulative marketing strategies, as well as our county's efforts in establishing buffer zones. On Sunday, March 17, 2019, these three students gathered in Sacramento at the state capitol building to educate lawmakers on the epidemic our county/schools are facing regarding e-cigarettes/vape pens and other tobacco products. Among those they presented to were Rudy Salas and Vince Fong, local legislators that represent Kern County.
Amariun, Vivianna, and Maria met with Congressman Rudy Salas in Sacramento about the growing issue of tobacco, vaping, and marijuana use in Kern County and California.
With such commitment to SERVICE to combat this growing county and statewide issue, each student brings a unique story as to their involvement with S.W.A.T. Amariun noticed the impact that marijuana had on his community and that there was not much change happening. He knew that he had a calling to make a change and decided, whether big or small, he would do his part to fight the marijuana problem. As a freshman, Amariun helped created a video public service announcement for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools to encourage students to avoid tobacco and drug use. Vivianna was drawn to make a change because of the impact marijuana and vaping has on human health. Vivianna learned that one cigarettes could cost a person 11 minutes of their life and smoking one vape pipe is like smoking 1-2 cartons of cigarettes. This staggering data made her realize the public health risk of tobacco, vape, and marijuana use. For Maria, her involvement is more personal. Her dad was a longtime smoker and because of his habit, her little brother was diagnosed with asthma at an early age. As a result of her involvement with S.W.A.T. and her leadership in combating tobacco and marijuana, Maria's dad quit smoking and is living a much healthier lifestyle. With their commitment to being positive citizens and making positive contributions, Amariun, Vivianna, and Maria are #BulldogSTRONG.