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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Highland schools set to celebrate red ribbon week

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Photo/Tammy Curtis Donald Britell, community executive and Christy Williams with Simmon's Bank present red ribbons to Cherokee Elementary students Eli Sisco and Morgan Wutke. Pictured with the group is Cherokee Elementary School Principal Tracy Webb.
Red Ribbon week is always a fun week, increasing many student's awareness of the need to remain drug free to live a productive and successful life. To students at Highland Middle School and Cherokee Elementary School, the week of Oct. 26-30 was an opportunity to celebrate good character by being drug free.

Students and staff sported their red ribbons, which were donated by Simmon's Bank. Monday the kick off of Red Ribbon Week was, "Drugs give you the blues day." Students dressed from head to toe in blue. Tuesday was, "Put a cap on drugs day," followed by, "I'm a Jean-ous, I'm drug free day," and, "Drugs and I don't mix day." The week ended with a pep rally in which the entire school dressed in red for Red Ribbon Week.

Red Ribbon Week is the nation's oldest and largest drug prevention program and is held yearly during the last week of October. By wearing red ribbons and participating in community anti-drug events, young people pledge to live a drug-free life and pay tribute to DEA Special Agent Enriqué "Kiki" Camarena.

Camarena was an 11-year veteran of the DEA assigned to the Guadalajara, Mexico, office where he was on the trail of the country's biggest marijuana and cocaine traffickers. In 1985, he was extremely close to unlocking a multi-billion dollar drug pipeline.

On Feb. 7, 1985, he was kidnapped, brutally tortured and eventually murdered by Mexican drug traffickers. His tragic death opened many American's eyes to the dangers and reality of drugs and the international scope of the drug trade.

Shortly after his death, Congressman Duncan Hunter and one of Camerena's high school friends, Henry Lozano, launched "Camarena Clubs" in his hometown of Calexico, Calif. Hundreds of club members pledged to lead drug-free lives in honor of their friend. The pledges were later delivered to First Lady Nancy Reagan at a national conference of parents combating youth drug use. Several state parent organizations then called on community groups to wear red ribbons during the last week of October as a symbol of their drug-free commitment.

In 1988, only three years after Camarena's death, the National Family Partnership (NFP) coordinated the first National Red Ribbon Week with President and Mrs. Reagan serving as honorary chairpersons. For nearly a quarter of a century, schools, clubs, businesses and organizations have used Red Ribbon Week as a way to demonstrate to their community a way to take a stand against drugs and show intolerance for illicit drug use and the consequences on America as a whole.

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