LHS celebrated Red Ribbon Week

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Red Ribbon Week, a drug and alcohol prevention awareness campaign, was celebrated at LHS throughout the week of Oct. 21-26.

This week was started by the Reagan administration to honor Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique Camarena, who was abducted, tortured and killed in the line of duty in 1985, according to Dr. Brenda Nelson, LHS Prevention and Wellness Coordinator.

“My role is to support the student energy behind it. The hope is that teachers give voice to it and it is an opportunity that can bring together a teacher [and] student conversation about being healthy, specific to the drug and alcohol issue,” expressed Dr. Nelson.

LHS chose to celebrate this week in many ways to promote healthy choices. A committee of students met with Dr. Nelson about two weeks before the week began and had a brainstorming session for ways to promote Red Ribbon Week.

It began with the kick-off event on Sunday, Oct. 21; Dr. Nelson estimated that roughly 40 people attended. There were many fall-themed things at the kick-off, including two different kinds of mac and cheese, hot chocolate, apple cider, painting of mini pumpkins and a donut competition. The donut competition was where donuts were placed on a string attached to a rod and the first student to eat their donut without it falling on the floor won; this was Hailey Decker’s idea. She is an LHS junior on the student committee for Red Ribbon Week. Decker contributed many ideas for planning the week but noted it was a group effort to make everything come together.

Other than that, some windows around the school were painted red with anti-drug and alcohol slogans. There were some class competitions also, one including a clothing drive.

Later in the week, there was a banner campaign for two days to encourage ways for students to have fun without drugs and alcohol.

“The thing I really love about [the banner campaign] idea, and again that was a student idea, is that [it shows] at this period of life [students can] have a lot of experiences where [they] can have a great time with other people and not have to have any substance as a crutch or a social lubricant,” said Dr. Nelson.

Link Crew also brainstormed ideas on Monday and Thursday to reinforce the idea of Red RIbbon Week.

The health fair, which is about healthy lifestyle choices — anything from nutrition to stress management to physically taking care of the body — was on Friday, Oct. 26, in the library. There were also therapy dogs, kickboxing and a visit from  Meg Dahmer who has recipes for sauces and dressings that are sugar-free, gluten-free and low sodium from her company Pigtale Twist and works with Lamb’s Farm. She brought in her sauces and dressings and letting students mix up different foods, including coleslaw, pulled pork and pasta salad. Kids got to taste test them as well.

There was also a committee of three LHS parents  who helped bring in different agencies and organizations as well as get raffles and prizes for drawings.

“I hope that more people understand that a drug-free lifestyle is a better lifestyle and that drugs are dangerous and irresponsible to anything of the sort while you’re at our age, especially because we are not matured,” expressed Decker, who also encouraged students to join the student committee next year. “I hope more people will realize that and that it gets through to them. I know in high school a lot of people turn to drugs and alcohol, so I hope Red Ribbon Week actually helps some people.”

While Dr. Nelson doesn’t believe one week can solve the entirety of the problem, she thinks it is very important to promote and build a foundation to continue to reinforce the idea.

“My hope is that we have more and more collective student voice that says that there is a really great student option that doesn’t involve alcohol, drugs or vaping,” she explained. “It is totally possible to have fun and have friends in high school without substances.”

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