Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Red Ribbon Week unites district on 'critical message'

Peake Elementary Students gather on the playground to display their support of Red Ribbon Week.

Red Ribbon Week unites district on 'critical message'

Crazy socks, drug walks and blackout days were just a few of the various activities that occurred throughout the Arkadelphia Public School District as part of an eventful 2012 Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon Week occurs annually and is the week when school-communities across the nation present a unified and visible commitment toward the creation of a drug-free America, and although it is over for this year, the message of living a healthy, drug-free life will continue on every campus throughout the school year.

The national movement of Red Ribbon Week brings community focus on the importance of a drug-free life and the dangers of substance abuse by involving the students in activities while at school; however, for the message to truly be effective, it must be reinforced at home as well. According to, children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42 percent less likely to use drugs than those who don't, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

District Health and Wellness Coordinator Virginia Anderson also sees Red Ribbon Week as a time to not only focus on how drugs negatively impact lives and communities, but also how a drug-free life helps secure the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.

“Red Ribbon Week, and its message of living drug-free, is part of the big picture,” Anderson said. “Avoiding substance abuse goes along with eating a healthy diet and exercising, all of which is necessary to properly care for our minds and bodies.”

In their “Choose to Refuse” week, Arkadelphia High School students and staff held “Drive Away from Drugs” daily drawings where a $10 gas card was given away, a Red Ribbon Week slogan contest, a “Blackout Drugs” day where everyone was encouraged to wear black, and then ended the week by wearing red shirts on “United Against Drugs” and “Badgers Just Say No” day.

Goza Middle School hosted several activities that promoted student involvement such as camouflage day, “nerdy” day and “pairs” day, where students picked a friend and dressed alike. Goza kicked off their Red Ribbon Week on the previous Friday with pajama day and a school dance that evening.

Peake Elementary School welcomed several guest speakers including Head Badger Coach J.R. Eldridge and three members of his squad, Jake Knight, Jaron Dixon and James Howard, who spoke in an assembly about the importance of staying drug free. Goza Middle School’s Jazzlers also performed in the assembly. Students also participated in themed-days such as “crazy” socks day.

“The Jazzlers, Coach Eldridge and his players were all a big hit at the assembly,” Sandra Capps, Peake’s Red Ribbon Week Coordinator, said. “The students listened and were hanging on their every word. Peake students want to grow up and play for the Badgers and perform in the spirit groups. These students are their heroes and having them come to Peake and give a message about being drug-free is very important. It was great that the Peake students heard it from other students who are their role models.”

In addition, Peake, Perritt and Central held canned-food drives and spirit days where students and staff wore red. Central and Perritt students also decorated posters with anti-drug slogans, and Central students displayed theirs on a walk to the Henderson State University campus where members of the Reddie spirit squads joined them and held a “Say No to Drugs” rally.
Above, Central Primary students display drug-free posters they made for their school's walk to HSU where members of the Reddie spirit squads joined them for a Red Ribbon Week rally. Below, Central students release balloons during the rally on HSU's Quad.

courtesy photo, (c) Henderson State University
All of the events combined made for an eventful week throughout the district and a unified voice raised awareness of substance abuse and the benefits of living drug free.

“The teachers and coordinators responsible for planning activities and speakers during our Red Ribbon Week did a great job,” Superintendent Donnie Whitten said. “Our district stands behind the message of Red Ribbon Week and I hope that our families continue to support this critical message at home, as well.”

For more information about the national campaign, visit, where you can participate by signing up for the “The Best Me is Drug Free” pledge and find additional information about the history of Red Ribbon Week and the National Family Partnership.

By Sean Ruggles, APSD Communications Director


1.  As parents and citizens, we will talk to our children and the children in our lives about the dangers of drug abuse.
2. We will set clear rules for our children about not using drugs.
3. We will set a good example for our children by not using illegal drugs or medicine without a prescription.
4. We will monitor our children's behavior and enforce appropriate consequences, so that our rules are respected.
5. We will encourage family and friends to follow the same guidelines to keep children safe from substance abuse.

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