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Paws for the Handwashing Cause: Washington State Students Honored for Teaching Hygiene Education

  • Kittitas Secondary School – FCCLA Chapter Receives “Healthy Schools, Healthy People” National Award  
  • Honor Given by American Cleaning Institute, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

Newswise — Washington, D.C. – June 20, 2018 – A group of Kittitas (WA) students who used their school mascot Paws to help teach their classmates about good hand hygiene behaviors are the recipients of the 2018 “Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It’s a SNAP” National Award.

The honor is handed out annually as part of a joint initiative from the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to promote handwashing among students. SNAP stands for the School Network for Absenteeism Prevention.

Student members of the Kittitas Secondary School Chapter of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) developed their “Paws for the Handwashing Cause” campaign to highlight the importance of good hand hygiene practices.

“Our plan was laid out to be completed by winter vacation in order to curb absenteeism at the height of the cold and flu season,” said Kittitas students Grace Allphin and Natalia Benavides.

Grace and Natalia promoted their education efforts at the local “Trunk or Treat” event by decorating their adviser’s car as a huge hand with germs all over it, while giving out copies of ACI’s “Don’t Do the Flu” coloring sheets.

The students also featured their school mascot Paws in a poster and video about handwashing tips that creatively employed the school’s fight song to remind students to wash for 20 seconds, developed educational content for students in younger grades and recorded a local radio public service announcement on how handwashing contributes to reducing the spread of communicable diseases.

“Raising awareness of common sense handwashing with soap and water can make a huge difference in enhancing public health and reducing school absenteeism,” said Nancy Bock, ACI Senior Vice President, Education. “Good hygiene practices are critically important, especially in the wake of the deadly flu season the U.S. just experienced.”

“Congratulations to Kittitas Secondary School for the exemplary work on their school-wide campaign to keep hands clean and kids healthy,” said David Berendes, Ph.D., a disease detective at CDC. “Handwashing with soap and water is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs, particularly during cold and flu season.”

As part of receiving the “Healthy Schools, Healthy People” National Award, the Kittitas students and their FCCLA adviser traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with their elected representatives in Congress and with staff and members of ACI.

ACI member companies contributing to the Healthy Schools, Healthy People national awards program include Amway, Arylessence, Inc., The Clorox Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Ecolab Inc., Georgia-Pacific Professional, Henkel Corporation, RB and Seventh Generation, Inc.

Oklahoma Classrooms Receive Runners-Up Honors

Two Oklahoma schools received runners-up recognition for their hand hygiene education efforts.

First runner-up was Calera Elementary School for their submission, “Super Germ Fighters.” The second runner-up was the Medford High School – FCCLA Chapter, for their project, “Spread the Word Not the Germs!”

For information on how your school can participate in the Healthy Schools, Healthy People: It’s a SNAP program, visit


The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI – is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. ACI members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. ACI and its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.