BY KAREN CAMPBELL
Weakley County Schools Communications Director
WEAKLEY COUNTY (October 29) – As Weakley County Schools closed out October, much of the county was seeing red. Students launched the annual observance of Red Ribbon Week underscoring “Drug Free Looks Like Me” and dressed in daily themed attire, supporting drug prevention messages.
Most of the younger elementary-aged students enjoyed dressing for their future careers, twinning, and becoming superheroes. Middle schoolers joined them in the pursuit of “crazy” and or “wacky tacky” with mismatched clothes or strange hairstyles and added competitions for craziest socks as well as poster contests, scavenger hunts and trivia contests.
Bringing messaging close to home, Gleason School saw students in their team color with the question: “Orange you glad you’re drug free?” They also did a tally of the future careers represented on career day: firefighters, police officers, teachers, artists, doctors, veterinarians, scientists, child care specialists, HVAC technicians, librarians, baseball and football players, YouTubers, zookeepers, safari guides, car dealership owners, hair stylists, construction and design engineers, chefs, soldiers, bank tellers, gas company experts, cowboys, Judo and Karate experts, fashion designers, sweet potato farmers, and even a Sasquatch Tracker.
Greenfield combined their final day before Halloween with a costumed walk-through the halls for treats and the message to “show good character and say no to drugs.”
Dresden Elementary wore their Lion spirit wear as they noted the importance of being Paws-itively Drug Free. Martin Elementary showed stamina and patriotism with “Be all you can be. Be drug free” as they wore camo or red, white and blue. Dresden Middle gave drugs the boot on Friday in western wear. Martin Middle donned their DARE shirts to dare to be drug free.
Some schools opted for a mid-week emphasis. Martin Primary wore red on Wednesday. Sharon students dressed for success and their future careers.
Weakley County Prevention Coalition staff and Youth Coalitions presented at several schools including Dresden High School and Westview. They also provided colored pencils and a writing and coloring journal to Westview students as an alternative to drugs or alcohol for dealing with stress.
WCPC Youth Engagement Coordinator Cannon Brawley told WBBJ reporter Diamond Williams in a news segment that aired on Monday that the key to such awareness events with students is to “empower them to make the best decision they possibly can with what they know. The more they know, the better decisions they can make.”
In 1988, National Family Partnership, formerly the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth, sponsored the first National Red Ribbon Celebration. Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.