Schools throughout diocese raise awareness about drugs during Red Ribbon
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
Nov. 2, 2006
Schools throughout the Diocese of Sioux City and the United States celebrated
Red Ribbon Week - Oct. 23-31. Red Ribbon Week is designed to promote healthy,
drug-free lifestyles for youth.
At Danbury Catholic School, the students wore different colors each day to
represent a special theme within Red Ribbon Week.
"In the past, I have organized Red Ribbon Week," said Kristy
Liechti, principal at Danbury Catholic. "This year I had two teachers come
forward interested in taking the lead and organizing the red ribbon activities.
They have done an excellent job of making the children aware of their
opportunity to say 'no' to drugs. Every day we have had some kind of theme, some
kind of color representation for a special reason."
Monday the students wore red as well as participated in a special P.E.
"The whole school went together. We gave the older kids a backpack full
of books to symbolize how drugs weigh you down - you can't do as much, your body
is not as healthy. They ran with a heavy backpack," said Amy Seuntjens, who
teaches third and fourth grade and P.E. "We had the younger students,
kindergarten through second, have an empty backpack to show that when you are
healthy you can do things a lot faster. They raced each other to show that the
healthier bodies are going to win even if they are younger."
Tuesday was "Orange you glad to be drug free?" day and the students
wore orange. On Wednesday the students wore blue and a pair of slippers to
signify giving drugs the slip and drugs give you the blues. They also had a
speaker, Dr. Alan Schenne, from the Maple Valley Medical Clinic.
"The Grass is Always Greener on the Drug Free Side" was the theme
for Thursday and the students wore green. On Friday the students wore their
favorite colors to "Let Your True Colors Shine Through." State Trooper
Carrie Yaneff was the speaker for the day.
"The younger they are, the more they are going to listen and get into
the habit of realizing that drugs aren't good," said Seuntjens. "We
need to get to them here before the drugs do."
During the week, the students also created a poster with a theme that will be
submitted to a national contest.
"The week encourages children to make better choices - making them aware
and not so naive to some things that happen out there in the world," said
Liechti. "The children will have a better knowledge base to make better
choices and better decisions on healthier ways of life."
Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools in Sioux City, all of the centers, also
participated in the week as well. Pam Schermerhorn, a guidance counselor for the
school system along with Mary Uhl, noted that they receive ribbons, stickers and
coloring books from the Elks Club each year.
"All of our students get either a ribbon or a sticker and the younger
kids get the coloring books, which have drug-free messages," she said.
"Everyday we have a special activity that the students participate
Monday was red, white and blue day - "United We Stand for a Drug-free
Land." Tuesday the students were asked to bring in a canned good -
"You CAN Be Drug-free." The cans were distributed to agencies around
Sioux City. "Team up Against Drugs" was the theme of Wednesday and the
students wore their favorite team T-shirt or sweatshirt.
"We want all of our students to be able to grow up and be successful. In
order to do that, saying 'no' to drugs is part of that process," said
Schermerhorn. "It is a continuation of everything we already talk about. We
want them to be the best they can be. This is one of the things they have to
work at in order to accomplish that."
"Sock it to Drugs" was Thursday's theme and the students wore crazy
socks. Friday was wear your hat day - "Hats off to Being Drug-free."
"We try to do something fun to celebrate the fact that everyone is
working hard everyday to be drug-free and make good decisions," said
Schermerhorn. "Mary and I go into all the classrooms. We have a short
message that we give to the students about the celebration of Red Ribbon Week -
what it is all about. We congratulate them on all the hard work they do in being
able to stand up and say no to the things that are harmful to them."
At Kuemper Catholic Middle School-St. Lawrence Center in Carroll, red
bracelets were distributed to all the students for Red Ribbon Week. The teachers
also had large red ribbons and banners for their classrooms.
"A couple of days during the week I sent home information for parents on
how to talk to students about drugs - tobacco," said Cara Greteman, the
middle school guidance counselor.
She noted that it is important to make the students aware because "a lot
of the students have a misconception that everyone is doing it, especially when
it comes to alcohol and tobacco. If you show them the facts that everyone is not
doing it, then they don't feel so obligated to give in to peer pressure."