Three state poster contest winners, one Carson City classroom |

Three state poster contest winners, one Carson City classroom

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Clockwise from top, Michaela Roth, Ryan West and Matthew Roberts, all 10, show off their certificates from the National Safety Council poster contest at Capital Christian School. Roth placed first, Roberts second, and West third in the Nevada hand-drawn category of the 2007 National Radon Poster Contest.

During her first year teaching at Capital Christian Center, Sharon Yurtinus wanted to do different things to help teach her fifth-graders.

Among her ideas was entering a poster contest for radon awareness put on by the National Safety Council. She figured it would be a good way to teach science, but really wasn’t concerned with winning.

Then her students won all three of the top places in the state.

“I really wanted them to learn about science and especially Nevada science so they can help others where we live,” Yurtinus said.

The students were charged with creating a poster promoting awareness about the potentially harmful effects of radon.

Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas that has no taste or smell. It comes from the radioactive breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. It can get into any type of building, homes, offices, and schools, resulting in a high indoor radon level.

Through her research, Yurtinus learned that radon is present in Northern Nevada and one of the largest concentrations is in Zephyr Cove.

The winning poster was from Michaela Roth, who drew a house enveloped in the gas surrounded by useful facts. The title of her poster was “Are We Safe?”

“I was excited when I found out I won. My parents were pretty surprised,” Michaela said.

Second place went to Matthew Roberts and third place went to Ryan West.

Yurtinus said she was shocked to learn that all three of the top places had come from her class.

For placing in the contest, all three students received certificates from the National Safety Council and had their posters entered in the national competition. The national winner receives a trip to Washington, D.C., and their entry becomes the council’s national poster for radon awareness.

The national winner will be selected in late January.

Yurtinus said she was impressed with her students and looks forward to what they will come up with for next year’s contest.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.

What is Radon?

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Radon causes more deaths annually than drunk driving, drowning or home fires.

Nearly one in 15 homes is the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. For more information about testing for radon, call the Nevada State Health Radiological Health Division at 687-5394 ext. 275.