News and Events

Levy County's Ansley Pentz Shares Her Thoughts on the Recent Statewide SWAT Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
August 20, 2012

In the book How to Read Literature Like a Professor, the college guide to reading between the lines, every literary meal was an act of communion.  Every.  Single.  Meal.

At the SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) statewide meeting, active members shared a total of six meals together.  So there were six acts of, according to my AP Literature summer homework, communion. 

But there was more than that at the meeting.  If we read further into each line, each moment, we realize that the statewide meeting didn’t just bring people together who shared a common passion; it helped bridge the gap between local SWAT chapters and the state of Florida, united us, encouraged us to try new things, and pushed us out of our comfort zones in an area that was unbelievably comfortable. 

The meeting, based on breaking through and becoming more innovative, pushed SWAT members.  It wasn’t a push that you’d give someone in first grade if they took your bouncy ball.  It was a push into the unknown, the unfamiliar, and the unbelievably interesting facts about how to break through- how to break through understanding Tobacco Prevention Specialist (TPS) and SWAT member relationships, how to break through the communication barrier between the statewide Youth Advocacy Board (YAB) and the local SWAT clubs and chapters, how to break through the uncreative and overused event, how to break through whatever is standing in SWAT’s way.

Once we multiply that times six, the number of meals we shared, the statewide meeting seems almost as fantastic on paper as it did in real life. 

If this were math, though, we wouldn’t simply multiply our breaking through by six acts of communion.  We’d then add the election of the 2012-2013 statewide YAB members.  Three members from each of the four regions were selected, completing the twelve-member Youth Advocacy Board.  Levy County’s candidate Ansley Pentz (that’s me) was elected for the 4th time. 

In the end, the statewide meeting was a metaphor; it wore many hats:  the political top hat of electing the YAB, the pirate hat of breaking through barriers like canons break through ships, and the frilly and absurd Kentucky Derby hats that encouraged members to become more innovative.

If the statewide meeting were Mr. Boyd’s Pre-calculus class, he’d make us write an equation:
statewide meeting = (break through x 6 acts of communion) + 12 new YAB members + 3 hats