Riverbank Unified School District participated in the National Red Ribbon 2017 Campaign last week with door decorating contests, dress up days, and other activities all week long. Promoting this year’s theme of “Your future is key so stay drug free” and sharing information, educators expressed how important it is to celebrate Red Ribbon Week.
“I’m proud of our students and staff for participating in this national effort to raise awareness about the negative impact of drugs in our society,” stated Riverbank Unified School District Superintendent, Daryl Camp. “The use of drugs diminishes the human potential of many individuals in communities throughout the United States of America.
“In Riverbank Unified, we strive to provide safe and supportive learning environments so students can excel.”
Riverbank High School had certain dress up days throughout the week like pajama day on Monday and dress like an elderly person on Wednesday to show that if you stay drug free you can live a long life. The second period class that had the most students dressed appropriately for each themed day and 95 percent attendance during the week received a doughnut party.
Mr. Searway’s class won the door decorating contest and Mrs. Taulbee’s class won the spirit points contest.
Mesa Verde Elementary had a jog-a-thon to kick off the Red Ribbon Week festivities along with dress up days and a door decorating contest as well.
On Monday students wore their nerdiest outfits with jeans and the color red and on Tuesday it was Disney Day so students could sport their favorite Disney attire or the color black.
“I think it is important that we bring awareness to the kids at a young age that you should not use drugs,” said California Avenue Elementary Principal, Kathy Briggs. “So if we start this at a young age and keep reminding the kids it will become important to them and they will not want to use drugs in the future.”
Special Education Teacher Amber Caldwell organized the festivities for Red Ribbon Week for the first time at California Avenue Elementary with special dress days, a door decorating contest, and a few other projects like the white ribbons that had red hearts with pledges from the students to stay drug free.
“We also had a door decorating contest that was for TK to second grade and the winner of that is going to get a pizza party and third through fifth is going to get a nacho party for the winners of that door decorating contest,” added Caldwell. “It was really a lot of fun. We had good participation. We had crazy hair day which was probably my favorite. There were a lot of students that had really creative crazy hair.”
A few of the other dress days included wearing neon clothes on Monday, Hawaiian clothes on Tuesday, and camouflage on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately it (drug use) is hitting kids even in elementary schools nowadays,” said Caldwell. “So we need to start talking about it really young. It is very important and I love seeing all the participation because it shows me that the kids are having a good time with it but they are thinking about it. It makes them conscious about what is happening this week so I absolutely think that it is important.”
Leadership students and PHAST (Promoting Health And Slamming Tobacco) club members collaborated along with Leadership Teacher and PHAST Advisor Kristi Santos to bring the students a Haunted House of Addictions. The haunted house was an entire experience for the students at Adelante that included a passport that they had to complete regarding five addictions: tobacco, alcohol, prescription meds, caffeine, and sugar to collect stamps, a PHAST pen to fill it out, and a wrist band.
“The PHAST club and Leadership class at AHS collaborated to create a “Haunted House of Addictions” to combine some Halloween fun with education on how addiction impacts the body and mind,” added Santos. “This Haunted House of Addictions follows a visit from Dr. Victor DeNoble, who addressed the issue to our students.”
There were boards made with information on each addiction and students did research for several weeks on the five categories.
“We used electric candles and torches, to illuminate the very dark and spooky haunted house. Steven Bosworth, dressed as the spooky Teacher’s Pet, sat on the teacher’s desk, making spooky sound affects to add to the environment,” stated Santos. “An LCD projection of a fireplace, with wind and rain sounds added to the ambiance.”
The students received a bag of candy as a prize for completing their passport and students commented about receiving candy after learning about the sugar addiction.
“Leadership students were very satisfied with the turnout and the sincere participation of the other students,” expressed Santos. “The project took six weeks to develop, with everyone’s participation. Funding for the Haunted House came from the Tobacco Education (TUPE) grant.”
The sharing of information about drug use, addiction, and the effects is an important part of Red Ribbon Week to keep youngsters’ drug free, said organizers.