joined by red ribbons recently for National Drug
Prevention Week being observed once again by area
schools. Officials traditionally use this time of the
year to teach students about the effect drugs have on
a person's life and fight misinformation about drug
use and pro-drug propaganda.
Sikeston Public School students like many others
around the nation know Red Ribbon Week, which began
Monday and runs through Friday, as a week filled with
fun and anti-drug messages.
Parent-teacher conferences today and Friday meant
fewer days of Red Ribbon Week activities for
elementary students. "We kind of had a shorter version
this year," said Julie Bohannon, counselor and Red
Ribbon Week coordinator at the Southeast Fifth Grade
Between this week's activities and the eight-week
D.A.R.E. program they completed earlier in the year at
Southeast, however, the message about drugs was made
clear enough for fifth-graders Tim Hart and Abbi
Keefer: "That they're bad for you," they said. "They
can kill you, make you sick," Tim added.
Southeast students began Red Ribbon Week Monday by
wearing red. Red ribbons were numbered to randomly
select six students each day. "If they call your
number, you get prizes," said Abbi.
Tuesday was "Sock it to Drugs Day," followed by
"Team-Up Against Drugs Day" on Wednesday. "We wore
crazy socks and jerseys," said Tim. Students from the
class with the most participation in each day's events
win a soda.
Laurie Axtell, a member of the Bulldog Volunteer
Organization, and other parent volunteers organized
Red Ribbon Week activities for the Sikeston Middle
"If you want to be a survivor, you don't do drugs,"
said Hallie Hopper, seventh grader, summing up this
year's theme, "Survivor: You and Me - Drug Free."
The traditional Red Ribbon Week dress-up days and
prizes are part of the program at the middle school
as well. "It's been fun," said Ryne Maddox, a seventh
grader. "Yesterday I won a bag of candy for wearing
red and black."
Ryne and Hallie agreed the lunchtime tug-of-war
challenges were probably the most enjoyable of the
week's activities. Students who wished to participate
in a tug-of-war match formed teams of five to
challenge other teams during lunchtime, according to
Hallie. She said her team and other winners from
Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtime matches will compete
once more today and prizes will be awarded.
In addition to the fun-filled activities, there was
also a drug education session Wednesday in homeroom
and daily "drug-free" announcements. "Drugs hurt you,"
said Ryne. "Marijuana stays in your body for five
Counselor Kim Thornbrough who coordinated Red Ribbon
Week at the Junior High School with Charon Biggs, said
instead of an overall theme, "we kind of did different
things every day."
For example, students wore clothing inside out to
observe one day's theme, "Drugs Can Turn You Inside
Ninth grader Cullen DeHart predicted the karaoke
featuring holiday songs and movie themes would be the
most fun of the Red Ribbon Week activities. "Today we
had limbo in the gym during lunch," said Trey Stone,
eighth grader. "Lunchtime limbo was pretty fun."
Trey said a lot of students have participated in this
year's Red Ribbon Week activities. "It brought a lot
of spirit into the school."
The drug-free message was not lost among the fun and
games at the Junior High, either. "We've learned how
they can hurt you and reasons not to use them," said
Trey. "They're bad for your health, they shorten your
lifespan, they're really addictive and they just hurt
"I've always felt you shouldn't use them anyway,
though," said Cullen. He said the week's activities
reinforced his belief, however.
At Sikeston Senior High School, Students Against
Destructive Decisions, formerly Students Against Drunk
Driving, was just one of several groups which
participated in Red Ribbon Week activities, according
Jennifer Porter, faculty advisor for SADD. "We had
some different groups doing different things," said
Porter. "Some of the high school students went to the
elementary schools and spoke about drug awareness."
Susan Nothdurft, sophomore counselor at SHS, said
members of the Future Teachers of America club who
also participate in other extracurricular activities
such as band, flag corps, volleyball, twirling and Red
Peppers, visited Matthews Elementary. "They walked
over there in their uniforms and talked about
representing their school in uniform and staying off
drugs," said Nothdurft.
In addition to passing out red ribbons, SADD members
researched facts about destructive behavior "to make
themselves aware of dangers in their everyday lives,"