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Kaisers billboard design contest winners to be honored in Manteca
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A Grace Davis High School junior has been crowned the winner in the Kaiser Permanente Don’t Buy the Lie Contest, a local billboard design contest that delivers a powerful anti-tobacco message to teens.

Juan Gomez, 17, of Salida, designed the winning billboard, and was told the good news during a surprise visit to his first-period English class earlier this week. Gomez will be honored by Kaiser Permanente officials at an award reception on May 12 in Manteca. Gomez’s winning design will be seen on billboards throughout the San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties beginning next month.

More than 450 high school students from Central Valley school districts participated in the Don’t Buy the Lie contest and program, which also includes assemblies at area schools and handouts given to teens on the dangers of using tobacco. There were also 17 runner-up winners, who will also be honored at the May 12 reception. Among the runners-up are:

From the Manteca Unified School District: Natanael Pereyra, Lathrop High School; Michael Pan, Sierra High School; Elizabeth Mendez, Weston Ranch High School; Valencia Izamar, New Vision Educational Center.

From the Lodi Unified School District: Mariam Ramos, BearCreek High School; Joanna Stoltenberg, Lodi High School; Kevin Villa, Middle College High; Benjamin Mendez, Plaza Robles High School; Yasmin Bustas, Ronal E. McNair High School.

From the Stockton Unified School District: Stephanie Medrano, Cesar Chavez High School; Karen Moua, Edison High School; Dalia Barreras Rodriguez, Franklin High School; Emmanuel Guerra, Jane Frederick Continuation School; Stephanie Millan, Weber Institute.

From the Turlock Unified School District: Michael Funk, Pitman High School; Savon Santana, Turlock High School.

From the San Joaquin County Office of Education: Danielle Armendarez, Venture Academy.

For more information about the Don’t Buy the Lie program, visit