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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

Students learn anti-drug lessons during Red RibbonWeek activities

Thursday, October 25, 2001

(Photo)
Students from Sandy Kelso's Southeast Elementary School fourth-grade class pull during the tug-of-war contest Wednesday afternoon in Sikeston.
SIKESTON - Red, white and blue ribbons have been

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

Center.

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

School.

"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

years."

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

Out."

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

you."

"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,"

said Porter.