In honor of Red Ribbon Week, Clay Community Schools students have been involved in several drug and alcohol awareness activities all week. This year's national theme is "What I Choose to Do Instead of Drugs."
On Thursday, students will begin a march at 9 a.m., sponsored by Clay Community Schools and the Clay County Local Coordinating Council. They will travel from Kroger, down U.S. 40 to the courthouse. Everyone will gather on the courthouse lawn for a welcome speech, opening prayer, proclamation and words from the county's SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) chapter presidents. Approximately 600 people are expected to participate in the march, but it is open to the public.
After opening speeches, students will attend "breakout sessions" at four locations, with three or four activities at each place. Lori Knight of Clay Community Schools says this is always a "full day" and is "a lot of fun" for all involved.
In the Clay Superior Courtroom, students will act as a jury in a mock trial of someone who is "apprehended" on the courthouse lawn. Afterward, they will hear from a "positive role model", who will talk about why they have remained drug free. Then a "negative role model" will speak to the group about what effects drugs have had in his or her life.
A real jail cell will be available for the children to view at the Clay County Sheriff's Department. They will also get to examine city, county and state police cars along with a crashed car resulting from a drunk driving accident. Then SADD chapter students will lead the elementary kids in a fun activity.
At the Annunciation sanctuary, Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Heaton will tell the children about what methamphetamines are made of and what they will do to the user's body. Members of Point of Youth (POY), a state organization, will also give a short presentation. SADD members will then do chants and share their secret handshake, while giving away prizes for correct answers.
Finally, students will get a chance to try doing sobriety tests while wearing fatal vision goggles, which simulate being drunk, in the Annunciation parking lot. There will also be a reenactment by a SADD member of a person overdosing on drugs, including EMT's and hospital staff in action. Then SADD students will show students how it would feel to live with emphysema.
Besides Thursday's events, Clay County's elementary schools were involved in a poster contest. First, second and third place winners were chosen Tuesday from every grade in every building and they were given Wal-Mart gift cards. An overall winner was chosen from each school and one grand champion will be picked from those nine posters. Sponsors for the contest were French Funeral Home, Morris Manufacturing, Brazil Kiwanis Club, Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 157, Pauly Jail Building Co. and A&W Restaurant in Clay City. Representatives from the businesses also served as judges in the event.
Local schools have also been participating in dress-up days with themes such as "put a cap on drugs," when students and staff can wear hats, and "drugs and I don't mix," when they can wear mismatched clothing. Each SADD chapter also had different events planned including tying red ribbons on cars and a drug-free Halloween dance at Clay City, among many other drug-awareness activities.