Clay County fifth-graders ushered in Red Ribbon Week with an annual ceremony at the Clay County Courthouse.
The students marched to the courthouse from the YMCA of Clay County.
"We, through the court system, law enforcement and the schools, coordinate the programs for drug awareness for incoming middle school students," Akers said. "Having raised four children in this community, I realize this is my community. I'm pleased if I can help any young person or parent become more aware.
"It's quite fulfilling."
Following Akers' welcome, Clay County Commissioner Paul Sinders presented the invocation before Akers introduced the students from Cornerstone Christian Academy, Meridian, Eastside, Forest Park, Van Buren, Staunton, Jackson Township and Clay City elementaries.
Next, Akers introduced the Northview and Clay City S.A.D.D. chapter sponsors, including Debbie Allen (NHS), and Scott Stuckey and Lynn Guigino (Clay City).
Allen then introduced Clay County Tobacco Coalition Director Kandace Brown, who read the proclamation naming Oct. 21-31 as Red Ribbon Week.
Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger then thanked community members for sponsoring the event before Clay County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Rob Gambill led the balloon release.
Students then split into groups and spent the afternoon touring different locations, including the courthouse and justice center.
The students also took part in mock trials and various other programs.
"They have a program," Commissioner Charlie Brown said. "The whole day is structured."