MAMMOTH SPRING -- Red Ribbon Week was celebrated across the country and the area last week with most schools and a lot of community clubs and organizations trying to get the word out that younger people, especially students, stay away from drugs.
Mammoth Spring School in conjuction with Red Ribbon Week had an assembly for the elementary students and the senior high students Oct. 30.
Mammoth Spring High School Bear's Against Drinking and Drugs (BADD) presented a light show to music before the guest speaker took the stage.
Stairway to the Sky, featuring Marty Breeze from Branson, was the featured speaker and entertainer at the assemblies. Breeze is a professional musician. He has been traveling across the country and has traveled to other countries bringing drug free messages and a rock-and-roll style of music the students seem to love, for the last 10 years. Earlier in the week he presented his drug free program and music at Thayer High School.
"I am a certified teacher. I have degrees in music and sociology. I taught school for three years before starting the Stairway to the Sky program. I have aways had a passion to teach," Breeze said. Although he did present his program to the elementary students, he said it is geared more toward students in the high school.
"When I was much younger, I had the opportunity to meet a man, Bill Freeman, who played at one time with Duke Ellington. He taught me a lot about music, but more importantly, he taught me to respect my parents, teachers and to do better in life," Breeze said.
"I love what I do, bringing my message and music to schools, but guitar playing is not the most important thing I do. I am a dad. I have six kids that I have taught to honor and respect their parents and teachers and they will do better in life," he said.
Breeze said it is interesting how choices can change your life. "Several years ago, I had the opportunity to go to Haiti. Haiti is a republic in the West Indies. It is a beautiful place to see. You could look out the window of your room and see bananas growing on trees," Breeze said.
The first day Breeze was there, he and his band were traveling to the place where they were going to play. There was an interpreter with them because, of course, they didn't speak the same language as the people of Haiti.
"As we were driving, I saw a group of young kids outside playing. They were naked. I couldn't believe it. I asked the interpreter, 'Does being naked not bother them?' I could tell I offended him. He said, '"Of course it bothers them, they are human beings just like you are. They are too poor to buy clothes.'"
Breeze said he learned that Haiti was the poorest country in the world with an 80 percent unemployment rate.
"I came back to the United States with two great changes in my life. I learned we live in the greatest country on the face of the earth. It is a gift. Folks that talk trash about this country are only showing their ignorance. The second thing is, I saw poverty, real poverty, with my own eyes. I learned everyone needs to be treated the same. There are students right here at this school, some have more money than others, some have more things than others. We still need to treat each other the same," he said.
"I'm going to give the students at Mammoth Spring School a Red Ribbon assignment. Right now is when you need to be thinking about your future. A future without drugs or alcohol. I want you to take a day and if you could be anything you wanted to be when you grow up, write down five practical things that will help you obtain your goal," he said.
Breeze then challenged the teachers at the school. " I have been through the process of becoming a teacher. I know how hard it is. I want the teachers here to pledge to be excellent teachers. Make these students your friends, let them know if they need a friend or advice they can come to you. Help them start thinking about what they are going to do with their life," he said.
With that, Breeze sang one last song and ended the assembly with a reminder to the students to respect others and stay clear of drugs.