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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Red Ribbon Week celebrated in area schools

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The oldest and largest drug-free campaign, Red Ribbon Week, is being celebrated this week in businesses and schools around the nation.

Red Ribbon Week began as a hometown memorial for DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena.

Camarena was investigating marijuana and cocaine traffickers in Mexico in 1987 when he was kidnapped and tortured to death.

Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Henry Lozano, a high school friend of Camarena, wore red ribbons and pledged to live drug-free lives to honor Camarena’s sacrifice.

In 1988, First Lady Nancy Reagan formalized the honor, and it became a national campaign against drugs.

Clay Community Schools are all decked out for Red Ribbon Week.

Members of the group Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) decorated Northview High School on Monday.

High School Students in Clay City signed a “Graffiti Wall” that will be delivered to the elementary school, encouraging young children to not use drugs.

Tuesday, Clay City SADD members went into every elementary classroom to give a short presentation to the students on the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.

The high school students taught the younger kids the SADD “secret handshake” and tied red ribbons around their wrists.

When tying the ribbons, they tell the elementary school kids, “This is to remind you to never do drugs, never drive drunk and never get in the car with a drunk driver because I care about you and want you to be safe.”

Seniors Kayla Withrow and Andrea Ladd helped to hang the graffiti wall and posters in the cafeteria during the fifth and sixth grade recess.

“I especially want to reach the sixth grade because they’re going into the high school,” Ladd said.

Withrow added that, once in the high school, students have more freedom and responsibilities.

The Clay City Jr./Sr. High School SADD chapter is active throughout the year in drug prevention.

The chapter won SADD chapter of the year for the state of Indiana last year, and President Whitney Ames was awarded member of the year.

The SADD students also did an interactive skit with the younger students to practice drug refusal skills.

When asked why it was important to do drug prevention in the elementary, junior Hunter Levoine said, “You see the kids coming up * how society has already gotten to them.”

Zach Boggs, a junior, said that it helps the kids to hear prevention messages from slightly older students to “keep them on a straight path instead of a crooked one.”

At the Jr./Sr. High School, Tuesday was BYOB Day " Bring Your Own Banana.

Students who brought their own fruit received banana splits during lunch.

Thursday is a big day for fifth graders.

All fifth grade students will march from the YMCA to the Courthouse, with the help of the SADD members.

A proclamation will be read, and the fifth graders will do activities at the Courthouse all day.

Students will rotate between four stations, including Circuit Court, Superior Court, and the law enforcement center.

“It’s a highlight. They really enjoy it,” Local Coordinating Council (LCC) coordinator Rhonda Alstott.

LCC is the organization that funds the SADD chapters in Clay County.

Friday, a Halloween dance will take place at Clay City from 8-11 p.m. Students can pay a dollar for a ticket during the school week, but will have their money refunded if they come in costume.

The Clay City SADD Sponsor Jane Jackson said that she has to turn high schoolers away from participating in the elementary school events, and that her main job is “to make the permission slips and make sure the money’s there.”

The students’ large participation is attributed to how active the club is.

“It depends on who’s in the club. If you have people who act on the belief, you’ll become more active,” Levoine said.

“It’s almost contagious,” Senior Emily Reed added.

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