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Laughing stress away
May 1, 2021

Frontenac News

by Liz Steele-Drew

If you had been a guest at the very first Comedy Night GREC ever hosted - last Friday night, you were probably wondering, as you sat hunched down in your seat, avoiding eye contact with the keenly intuitive comics, why has something like this not taken place sooner? Those who attended the show were treated to some hilarious stories and observations that the talented comics, including headliner Brendan McKeigan, (Just For Laughs, USO Tour in Iraq, Kuwait, Africa) so easily put into words. Aaron Keefe, the grade 11 student who organized the event, worked with Jason Laurans from Absolute Comedy to put on the “clean” show for students and parents.

“We had an opportunity to bring some kind of feel good event to the school and a comedy show just seemed like it would be a great idea.” Keefe, with support from Cindi Scott, Adolescent Care Worker, contacted Absolute Comedy and brought the four comics from Ottawa and Kingston to Granite Ridge Education Centre, for the hour and a half long show.

The money to put on the show comes from a new program funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. “We are in the second year of OPHEA’s (Ontario Physical Education Association) Smoke Free Ontario pilot project. The program focuses on building student leadership while addressing tobacco and other health related topics. Shaming smokers to stop or not even start, doesn’t work,” said Scott.

Students involved in the program received training and support from YATI (Youth Advocacy Training Institute), OPHEA and KFLA Health. The students are encouraged to spread the word on the tactics big tobacco uses to trick youth into starting to smoke. YATI believes the key to engaging youth in the fight against Big Tobacco is to find out what they are passionate about. If they are passionate about the environment, educate them about the amount of garbage that smoking creates. If they are passionate about human rights, educate them about how Big Tobacco uses child labour to harvest tobacco plants, often resulting in green tobacco sickness, or acute nicotine poisoning.

“We planned a few events over the month of April to educate students about stress, how to deal with it in healthy ways. The Comedy Night was a great opportunity to just sit back and laugh, which is a great way to deal with stress. Before the comics took the stage we had a two-minute public service type announcement that talked about the tactics big tobacco uses to entice young people into starting smoking. The newest concern on the tobacco front is flavoured tobacco. This stuff was developed with youth in mind. I don’t know of many adults who would choose to smoke a watermelon flavored tobacco product,” concluded Scott.

For most of the comics this was the first time they had travelled west on Hwy. 7, or at least the first time they turned left at the flashing light in front of the Petro Can station. It was quite obvious that they took some time to do a bit of sightseeing before taking to the stage. They poked fun at the dual purpose rooms in the new school: The café-torium - Is that a combination of a cafeteria and a crematorium? And the Drama Music room - Do they study only dramatic music? Their hilarious stories and impressions left the audience beaming. At one point the student sitting next to me, who was bent over laughing most of the night, elbowed me in the side and said, “It’s so funny! Because it so true!”

Stress Education Month @ GREC continues this week with Massage Therapist Annette Gray Jackson offering free mini-massages to students during their lunch hour on Tuesday and Thursday.


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Approximately one million Canadians will die over the next 20 years as a direct result of smoking and second-hand smoke, if current rates of tobacco use continue.
(Makomaski Illing & Kaiserman, 2004)
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