Red Ribbon Week starts Monday at all SSISD campuses

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 26, 2008 - Wearing red and camouflage clothes and sunshades. Donating canned food items. Halloween costume parades. They may sound unrelated, even frivolous, but educators will tell you these are simply ways to engage students in lessons promoting safe and healthy choices.

Mention it to those in the Sulphur Springs Independent School District and they'll quickly identify it as Red Ribbon Week, held annually at campuses in Sulphur Springs and across the country as a way to encourage youths to choose drug-, alcohol- and tobacco-free lifestyles.

Red Ribbon Week will get into high gear with numerous activities on each campus starting this coming Monday, Oct. 27.

At Early Childhood Learning Center, students and staff are encouraged to wear red Monday as part of "Say NO to Drugs ... RED Day!" activities. Tuesday is "Stay Hidden from Drugs!" during which camouflage colors are to be worn. ECLC students and staff will "Team Up Against Drugs" Wednesday by wearing athletic attire and participating in a school-wide pep rally in which high school athletes will be special guests. On Thursday, ECLC students will "Shade Out Drugs!" by wearing a favorite pair of sunglasses; if they don't have shades they can wear a favorite hat, cap or visor. ECLC closes out Red Ribbon Week on Friday with students wearing a favorite costume to school to remind each student: "Don't Be Tricked ... Drugs are No Treat!" To reinforce the lesson, ECLC will also hold a "Parade of Costumes."

Austin Elementary begins the week Monday by reminding students that "Smarties' Don't Do Drugs;" all are encouraged to "dress like a nerd" and will decorate pendants for their lockers. Austin students and staff Tuesday will be "Hunting Down Ways to Say No to Drugs" during a class scavenger hunt. They'll wear camouflage clothing and receive pencils with a "drug-free" message. The fun continues Wednesday as students wear 1960s and 1970s disco attire to show "It's Groovy to be Drug-Free." Fourth grade health classes will perform songs and skits, too. In keeping with the weekly theme, Austin students are encouraged to wear red Thursday as a "Pledge To Be Drug-Free" and to bring a Halloween costume for a parade as a means to "Say Boo to Drugs." Red Ribbon Week comes to a close Friday at Austin as students and staff "Team Up Against Drugs" by dressing to promote their favorite sports team and watching videos.

Bowie Elementary starts Red Ribbon Week off by teaching kids to "Walk Away From Drugs," Monday's theme. Students will walk in a school-wide "Drop Everything and Walk" event, which not only promotes the drug-free message but also the importance of physical activity in daily lives. At the end of the walk Monday, the students will receive stickers promoting the theme. With the general election only weeks away, Bowie students Tuesday are urged to "Elect to be Drug-Free." They'll vote on being drug-free and receive bookmarks for their efforts. Wednesday, Bowie students will "Join the Fight Against Drugs!" by wearing camouflage clothing; they'll receive washable decals. Thursday is "Being Drug-Free Comes in Cans" day at Bowie, with students receiving stickers and bringing canned food items to benefit the local food bank. Friday, Bowie students and staff will also "Team Up Against Drugs" by wearing stickers and team sports-related clothing.

Lamar Elementary students will "Elect to Be Drug-Free" on Monday by dressing patrioticly and willll receive a button and ribbon for their efforts. On Tuesday, Lamar students and staff will "Put a Cap On Drugs," so don't be surprised by the crazy hats and caps. Things will calm down a bit Wednesday when students and staff embrace the "Follow Your Dreams, Don't Do Drugs" theme by wearing pajamas to school. Things will appear a bit more seasonal Thursday as Lamar students and and staff "Say Boo to Drugs" by wearing orange and black clothing. Students will show their intent to "Stay In the Game" and "Be Drug-Free" by wearing Wildcat attire Friday; they'll also receive an "Elect to Be Drug-Free" pencil.

Travis Elementary gets off with a bang, opting to "Sock It to Drugs" by wearing mismatched or crazy socks, a well as a sticker and red ribbon with the drug-free slogan Monday. Tuesday, the students will see just how "Drugs Turn You Inside Out" by wearing their clothes inside-out and participating in classroom activities. They'll express their desires for a "Drug-Free America" by wearing red, white and blue clothing, as well as a beaded patriotic star necklace and drug-free sticker they'll be given at school Wednesday. Travis Thursday will be encouraged to "Follow Your Dreams ... Don't Do Drugs," and enjoy a day in their pajamas. They'll get a bookmark and sticker, too. Travis will close out the week by wearing their favorite team jersey to show they plan to "Stay in the Game ... Don't Do Drugs."

Douglas Intermediate School too will "Join the Fight Against Drugs" Monday by wearing camouflage clothing. The campus will be a sea of blue Tuesday as students wear blue clothing to demonstrate "Drugs Give You the Blues." Wednesday, Douglas fifth graders and staff will "Team Up Against Drugs" by wearing a favorite team jersey or T-shirt. Thursday at Douglas, kids and adults "Sock It to Drugs" by wearing special or mismatched socks. Friday they'll continue the week-long effort while supporting local athletes, proving the Douglas Dragons and future "Wildcats Don't Do Drugs" by wearing a Wildcat shirt or the team's blue and gold colors.

Sulphur Springs Middle School will also be embracing the theme "I Elect to be Drug-Free" by participating in a new activity each day Oct. 27-31. Monday, SSMS will "Join the Fight Against Drugs" by wearing camouflage clothing and donning a red ribbon. Tuesday, it's "Hats Off to Being Drug-Free," one of the few occasions its OK to wear hats to school. Wednesday, SSMS students and staff will "Team Up Against Drugs" by wearing jerseys. Thursday students will glam up and wear rock 'n' roll clothing to prove "Our School Rocks Drug-Free." Friday will be another exceptional day, as students are encouraged to wear sunglasses to school as a nod to "Shade Out Drugs Days." Students will also be asked to sign "I Elect to Be Drug-Free" pledge cards which will be hung in the cafeteria.

Sulphur Springs High School will start the week off breaking the rules by wearing hats or caps to show their intent to "Put a Cap On Drugs;" students will also be given red ribbons. Tuesday SSHS will look more like a military base as students don camouflage "Join the Fight Against Drugs." Wednesday students and staff can relax a bit in their favorite team jerseys, while students begin to "Plan Your Future Without Drugs." To encourage students to "Be Smart, Don't Do Drugs" they'll get to have a little fun "dressing like a nerd" on Thursday. The Red Ribbon Week Pep Rally Thursday will include speakers and throwing of Red Ribbon Week footballs at the end of the pep rally. SSHS students and staff will be reminded they can "Be on the Winning Team Without Drugs," Friday; the dress code for the day is the Wildcat colors, blue and gold.

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