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School District Supports Red Ribbon Week
CA 3
The students at California Avenue Elementary showed their Jaguar pride wearing T-shirts supplied by the PTA at a dance-a-thon to celebrate being drug free for Red Ribbon Week. - photo by VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

The Red Ribbon Campaign sponsored by National Family Partnership is in its 29th year as the nation’s largest and oldest drug prevention campaign, and according to the website,, Red Ribbon Week reaches 80 million people each year throughout the United States.

Several schools within the Riverbank Unified School District participated in the 2014 Red Ribbon campaign during the week of Oct. 27 through Oct. 31. This year’s theme was “Love Yourself. Be Drug Free.” and was created by S.S. Steward Institute seventh grader Alexa Dougherty from New York.

California Avenue Elementary School kicked off Red Ribbon Week with help from Riverbank High School cheerleaders and the Drama Club. The cheerleaders gave the students a drug free chant and cheer to learn. The Drama students performed several skits for the elementary students on peer pressure and showing them scenarios where they should say no to drugs.

For the fourth year, Penny Bartholomew, fourth grade teacher organized Red Ribbon Week at California Avenue Elementary.

There were activities each day along with themed dress days like crazy socks, sports attire to team up against drugs, and polka-dots to spot being drug free.

“I try to be creative with the activities and assemblies,” said Bartholomew. “This year we did a dance-a-thon, the kids loved it.”

They also had a door decorating contest and a paper T-shirt contest. There was one student from each grade level that received a prize for the winning T-shirt slogan.

“This week was a fun-filled week of activities for our students,” stated Bartholomew. “It was really exciting going around campus taking pictures, and hearing the kids say what a great week they had, and the importance of saying no to drugs.”

The theme on Friday was “sweat out drugs” where the students participated in a dance-a-thon celebrating being drug free. Every student on campus received a Jaguar pride shirt due to funds raised by the PTA to purchase the shirts.

Mesa Verde Elementary students participated in themed dress days including Nerd Day and Crazy Hair or Hat Day or they could wear the specific color for that day to show their participation in Red Ribbon Week.

The youngsters at Mesa were treated to a Dance O’ Rama on Thursday, Oct. 30 for exceeding their fundraiser goal and raised over $5,000 for the Jog-A-Thon. The dance was planned by the Student Council and supervised by Lupe Duarte, fourth grade teacher and Charlotte Bowden, third grade teacher. Several staff members were out on the lawn with the students participating in dances like the “YMCA” and the “Hokey Pokey.”

There was a sea of red with several students participating in the Red Ribbon Week celebrations and other students dressing up like a nerd for Nerd Day wearing glasses with tape on them, mismatched clothing and more.

Cardozo Middle School had themed days with specific colors selected for each day to show their spirit along with a focus of a specific drug. The students were also able to sign a pledge to be drug free and if they did they received a certificate with their name on it. The students also participated in a door poster competition where the winning class won a prize.

Riverbank High School had a door poster competition and a few different activities each day.

“I am happy we as a school have the week to support the awareness of drugs and alcohol dangers,” added Bartholomew.