Red Ribbon Week was celebrated throughout the Riverbank Unified School District at the end of October. From dress days to door decorating contests the red ribbon campaign was in full effect at Riverbank High School, Mesa Verde Elementary, and California Avenue Elementary with a theme this year of “Send A Message. Stay Drug Free.”
The National campaign began in 1985 and has been celebrated throughout the country ever since. The goal has never changed and the message is always clear that the weeklong festivities are to promote a drug free life.
California Avenue had a variety of themed dress days including wearing red, twin’s day, sports attire, and pajamas or a specific color for the day.
“The week went well,” said Maria Cruz Title 1 Coordinator at California Avenue. “It was a week full of activities and we are so happy with all the participation from students and staff. The visit from the sheriff’s department with the Canine Unit was definitely a highlight. Students were very excited to learn about drug prevention and to learn about police dogs. Also, to learn that Officer Decroix is a former California Avenue student.”
Cruz explained that the activities open communication between students, teachers and families.
“Students begin to ask questions, but most importantly they think about making good choices and how that relates to their life as students and community members,” she said.
The most popular dress days she advised between students and staff were the sports and pajama themed days.
“I personally enjoyed seeing all students enjoy the assemblies and participate in the chalk art all over the playground,” expressed Cruz. “Walking around and seeing their pictures and messages about being drug free were heartwarming and it made our campus look fabulous.”
Mesa Verde’s fifth grade teacher, RRW organizer and student council advisor, Vanessa Arellano expressed the same sentiment that the week went really well.
“Staff and students enjoy the dress up days, and it’s awesome to see how creative they are,” added Arellano. “Their favorite days are Disney day and Pajama day. Staff likes that I give them a color option with the dress up day because if students (or staff) don’t have a certain theme, they can still participate with the color.”
They also had a door decorating contest where Mrs. Ramirez’s first grade class took first place, kindergartners in Mrs. Branch’s class won second place, and Ms. Hopkins kindergarten students won third.
There were various activities each teacher did in their classrooms at Mesa including videos about staying drug free, a writing project with the same theme, and art.
“We celebrate this week to bring awareness on how bad drugs are, how damaging they can be to our bodies and we wear red ribbons to commit in staying drug free,” stated Arellano.
Riverbank High School’s leadership class and the PHAST club organized the festivities and dress days during the week. The high school dress days included matching/twins day, teen beach movie, Hannah Montana, Halloween Town, and High School Musical/Coco themes. During lunch one day during the Red Ribbon Week celebration they passed out RRW keychains, wristbands, and lanyards for students.
The idea is that the dress days spread the campaign message of being drug free.
“It’s important to bring awareness to students about the dangers of drug use,” stated Counselor and PHAST Advisor Maritza Alvarez. “The intoxicated goggles is an activity students enjoy doing. PHAST club provided a lot of info on vaping/juuls since that is an increasing issue/concern. They provided facts during morning announcements, as well.”
“I think programs such as Red Ribbon Week give us an opportunity to promote healthy living as well as build a strong school community,” stated Cruz. “This year Student Council organized the event (at California Avenue). Students from grades third to fifth worked hard to plan all the activities with help of advisors. These students learned a lot about responsibility and teamwork. They did a great job.”