By Josh Beavers
Webster Parish schools celebrated Red Ribbon Week over the past five days. The event is all about encouraging students to make healthy choices and show off their spirit in the process.
Across the district, students celebrated this year’s theme of “Drug Free Looks Like Me” with dress-up days and other activities and contests that encouraged drug prevention and healthy well-being.
According to the national Red Ribbon Campaign’s website, this year’s theme was chosen because “it best describes how all of us must do our individual parts to keep our communities safe, healthy and drug free.”
The first nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign was organized by the National Family Partnership in 1985 in response to the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. Following his murder, communities across the country began wearing red ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the destructive impact of drugs.
Over time, the campaign has evolved from wearing ribbons to include week-long themes aimed at promoting healthy, drug-free communities.
The Journal spoke to Ursula Hullaby, the district’s Safe Schools Coordinator and Community Liaison, about how schools recognized this year’s Red Ribbon Week.
“We educated our students by involving them in fun activities that centered around drug prevention,” Hullaby told us. “Red Ribbon Week is important because it is an opportunity to educate our students about pitfalls of drugs and all that’s involved.”
Covid put a hamper on last year’s celebration, but this year the event was back with gusto.
“Our ultimate goal is every school, every student to participate. Although that goal may not be reached at 100% – I dare say that more than 90 percent of our students participated in the activities for at least 1 or more of the five days,” she told us.
Education doesn’t end in school, and she said it is important for parents to have preventative conversations with young people and to lead by positive examples.
“Red Ribbon Week is a success because students find it informative, enjoyable and relevant,” she said.
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