Derek Peterson, the company’s founder and chief executive officer of Soter Technologies, presented the Soteria National Leadership Award to administrators and officials representing Wayne Public Schools during a ceremony April 18, 2023 at Wayne High School in Wayne, West Virginia. Peterson is a member of the Soteria National Leadership Award Board of Advisors.
The Soteria National Leadership Award recognizes local organizations that effectively use technology and intervention strategies to reduce vaping and disruptive behaviors in K-12 environments. Named after Soteria, the Greek goddess of safety, the award brings awareness to the health and safety issues associated with vaping, while also shining a light on the successful efforts employed by community organizations and schools to reduce vaping. The award evaluates the efficacy of specific initiatives, including counseling and intervention programs, the use of technology, and other methods that positively impact safety and wellness.
In his remarks, Peterson lauded Wayne Public Schools for taking proactive steps to mitigate the harmful effects of vaping, and for recognizing that a strategic combination of technology and counseling are the most impactful in reducing vaping and other harmful behaviors.
“The U.S. Government reports that some 25 percent of all U.S. high school students—and 10 percent of all middle school students—used e-cigarettes in 2022. E-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine, which lead to serious anxiety and depression, and affects memory, concentration, and self-control—especially in high school students and younger,” noted Peterson.
“There is clearly a health crisis in our schools. But we have also seen success stories, where schools join forces with local community organizations to build safe and healthy environments for learning,” added Peterson. “The success that Wayne County Schools has achieved in just a few short months is nothing short of remarkable. Incidents of vaping are drastically reduced, and a safe, healthy environment is returning to the school. They provide a perfect example of implementing a successful strategy to reduce vaping, and I am truly honored to present Wayne County Schools with the Soteria National Leadership Award.”