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News > Week encourages Maxwell children to say 'no' to drugs
Maxwell Elementary Middle School students learn to say "no" to drugs in different languages as part of the school's Red Ribbon Week programs Monday. (photo by Rebecca Burylo) )
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Week encourages Maxwell children to say 'no' to drugs

Posted 11/2/2012   Updated 11/2/2012 Email story   Print story


by Rebecca Burylo
Air University Public Affairs

11/2/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Al -- Strangely dressed students were seen walking the halls of Maxwell Elementary Middle School this week, from crazy hair to spooky costumes, each one with a purpose: to stop drug use.
Today marks the final day of Red Ribbon Week, a nationwide campaign to prevent drug use through educating children. Aloys Ingram, manager of the 42nd Medical Group Drug Demand Reduction Program, said drug prevention should be a topic parents discuss with their children all year.

"Red Ribbon Week is drug awareness, but really it should be drug awareness all the time, because our youth are getting into drugs," she said. "The more we educate our kids about drugs, the less our kids will want to do drugs. We should be aware of what's going on in our kid's life. When you see some sort of change in their life, find out why. Sit down and tell them that there's nothing that they can't work through together."

Monday kicked off the campaign with a pep rally with a skit from the drama team and parade to the arboretum. The parade featured the mascot, Red Ribbon and the coveted "spirit stick," awarded to the class showing the most energy. Col. Trent Edwards, 42nd Air Base Wing commander and Col. Susan Schlacter, wing vice commander, were present at the rally, showing their support of the events.

Students marched together down the street, shouting their chants and slogans against drugs as they tied bright red ribbons to each of the trees. The Drug Demand and Reduction team handed out goodie bags to all the students along with information about drug use hazards.

Eighth grade teacher Amy Rogers, who organized this year's events, gave her class full rein to prepare for the week. One of her students, Caroline Daniels, eighth grade class president, said this year they wanted to highlight the presidential election Tuesday.

"We all came together on the theme, 'I'm voting for my future: I'm drug free,' because of the election year," said Daniels. "It's been fun getting ready for it and just being a part of it has been
really neat. It's a lot of planning though."

A lot of planning went into this week's festivities as each grade had a hand in preparing dramas, cutting out decorations, decorating classroom doors, drawing banners and brainstorming costume ideas for the week.

Each day had a different theme with the purpose of sharing the importance of drug prevention. Monday brought laughter with crazy clothes with "Drugs Are a Joke" day. Donning red, white and blue, students came ready for the patriotic themed Tuesday, "We Are Voting for our Future." Halloween the following day brought in costumes for "Let's Scare Away Drugs." On Thursday for "Hair we Go, Drug Free" day, students could forget the comb.

Today, children were allowed to show team pride as the represented their favorite sport for "Go Pro, Drug Free" day. Children were also taught the reason behind Red Ribbon Week with a reading to recognize the sacrifice of Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena. Serving as a Marine and later for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Camarena was sent on a mission to investigate a major drug ring in Mexico. While undercover, he was kidnapped and later found dead after suffering from severe torture. Soon after, people across the nation began wearing red ribbons and badges to honor his memory and pledge to oppose drug use.

The Maxwell Elementary Middle School drama team was especially excited to have a part in continuing that tradition in what has now become Red Ribbon Week . "For us it's an incredibly big deal," said Cathy Martin, sixth grade language arts and drama teacher. "Our drama kids were so excited to be part of Red Ribbon Week and making sure that the message is very clear for younger kids that drugs are not OK."

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