In an effort to promote drug prevention education and advocacy, schools all around the country participate in the National Red Ribbon week that occurs in late October. The 2016 campaign theme was “YOLO (you only live once). Be Drug Free” and several schools in the Riverbank Unified School District participated in activities all week long supporting the cause. California Avenue Elementary was no exception with events and spirit days coordinated by third grade teacher Penny Bartholomew.
California Avenue was recently recognized for their enthusiastic efforts by the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) and took second place for the best school decorating contest. They received a plaque and a certificate for their creative efforts.
“I am just pleased we placed,” stated Bartholomew. “I am very competitive and I like to win. I like to challenge myself and our staff and students to strive for excellence in all we do.
“For our school I think it proves we have school spirit, support each other and our activities, and like having fun.”
During the week Red Ribbon Week festivities California Avenue also had a canned food drive where they collected over 1,800 cans for the Riverbank Food Sharing food giveaway to help feed the less fortunate in the area.
“I believe the students like all the dress up activities, but enjoy showing support on team up against drugs, and wearing their sports jerseys best,” said Bartholomew. “The TK (transitional kindergarten) through second grade seems to love when Officer Crowley visits and gives his talk, but love his motorcycle.”
Each day during the week students had a theme or color to wear to show their participation as well as several activities. Officer Crowley kicked off the week with a presentation for the students. The students participated in a paper T-shirt contest and created a slogan for it. On another day in the playground area the students used chalk art to write messages about being drug free. Cardozo Middle School color guard and band performed for the students that week as well. The school was decorated and they had a door decoration contest.
“The upper grades enjoy the chalk art and paper T-shirt logo competition,” added Bartholomew. “Red Ribbon Week shows school spirit and allows staff to teach our students to make better choices and learn to say no to drugs. This year along with all our staff, the after school program, and our PTA support and involvement from decorations to activities is why we took second place; it was a true team effort.”