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Jeannette student to be featured on Excela billboard

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Juccora Barton celebrates winning the essay contest with her parents, Bob and Lola Barton, and Jen Miele of Excela Health.

Beginning this month, a Jeannette student will be featured on a billboard touting healthy habits and she's happy to pass along her advice and healthy tips.

Juccora Barton, an eighth-grader at Jeannette McKee Middle School, is one of 10 area middle school students who won an essay contest sponsored by Excela Health.

“I exercise, drink a lot of water, play sports,” Barton said. “My picture will be on a billboard. I'm excited. It's sort of weird. It will be on a billboard near Pitzer's (Townhouse) this month.”

The essay contest winners will be spotlighted on billboards around Westmoreland County during May and June for their commitment to habits that contribute to a long and disease-free life. They were selected from hundreds of entries submitted during the April contest period.

“Good health is habit forming, but healthy habits must be cultivated at an early age to ensure lasting results,” said Jennifer Miele, Excela Health vice president of marketing and communications.

Barton said her mother helped her to write her essay and helped her to form healthy habits in the first place.

“It's an everyday thing,” said Barton. “It's important to have healthy habits.”She said her mother raised her to practice a healthy lifestyle “so that you can stay fit and be active.”

Barton, daughter of Bob Barton and Lola Barton, is one of eight daughters in her family and one of three sets of twins. Barton's twin is Janelle and their sisters are Wink, Daffney, Juwana, Dominique, Tash and Kerri.

“At a time when adolescents are exploring their independence and challenged to distance themselves from risky behaviors, we wanted to showcase healthy habits to inspire our community and encourage widespread and long-term participation in these positive lifestyle choice,” Miele said.

Other districts that participated in the essay contest included Franklin Regional, Greater Latrobe, Greensburg Salem, Hempfield Area, Ligonier Valley, Mount Pleasant Area, Norwin and Penn-Trafford.

Barton said she wanted to thank her teachers for their support.

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 724-838-5154.