Students Advocate for Anti-Vaping on National T.V.

Stefany Silva, Journalist


It’s 5:00am, with lights and cameras placed throughout a typical math classroom. Students are preparing to be interviewed on live television. Why would a news station be at our school?  Out of dozens of LAUSD High Schools, only Maywood Academy’s Advocate for Healthy Choices club was chosen to be on national T.V. 

I, Stefany Silva, am a Senior at Maywood Academy and have been a part of this eye-opening, fun, and life-changing club for two years since its debut at our school.

Mr. Padilla, our school’s dean who is responsible for bringing the program to Maywood, pulled a few club members and I from class to discuss something very important one day: Univision, the country’s largest Spanish-language television network, wanted to interview us! Excitement filled the air knowing our hard work and activism was going to be recognized throughout our community and district.

Our AFHC club impressed schools and staff members throughout the district with our strong advocacy against vaping. In a recent study published by news website, it has been reported that over 2,200 people have become sick and 48 have died due to vaping. Vaping has become very popular among teens, but the majority don’t know that it’s the main reason why many health issues arise. Our AFHC club’s main goal is to share the negative effects of electronic cigarettes that are causing a huge epidemic to spark in the lives of youth.

Attempting to get restful sleep was the most difficult part of my night before the big day. Internal arguments about what to wear, fear of arriving late, and wondering what to say were what kept me tossing and turning. On the morning of October 14th at 4:30am, I was at our school’s library waiting to meet up with my fellow club members. Mr. Padilla walked us over to a classroom where Cecilia Bogran, a news reporter for Univision, along with cameras were set and ready to film us. 

She spoke clearly and elegantly on camera making her appear friendly rather than intimidating. It was clear that she loves doing her job. She was great at effortlessly interacting with viewers and people in the same room as her.

The AFHC club members and I were divided into smaller groups and began making posters to promote our club. While doing so, we were completely unaware of what the interview questions were going to be about.

There were sweaty palms, shaking legs, and eyes frantically looking around the room in hopes of finding some way to relieve the anxiousness. As we picked up the markers, we shot each other looks of uneasiness and nervousness. Being “freaked out” merely describes the rush of emotions we felt. It felt as though we have been waiting for an eternity for our cue. 

Once those two minutes were up, it was showtime.

Once it was 5:00 am, we were on-air answering questions such as: “What is the purpose of this club?” “Why are you an advocate?” “Why do you think it is important to be involved in after school activities?” We had to think very quickly and ensure we did not mess up. We were being broadcasted on live television, meaning our every twitch and sound were being observed by viewers all across the nation. The most difficult task was having to give clear answers while having a huge camera light shining in our faces. 

Maywood Academy’s AFHC club has become a foundation for students to improve their peer advocacy and individual growth.  Daniel Gettinger, principal at Maywood Academy, agrees. “When students are more connected to the school (because they are able to explore their passions) they’re more successful in all facets of their career.”