is Red Ribbon Week
Every year the last week of October is designated as Red Ribbon Week. This year is very special since it is the 20th anniversary. Red Ribbon began because of a DEA agent named Kiki Camarena.
Enrique "Kiki" Camarena grew up in a dirt-floored house with hopes and dreams of making a difference. Camarena worked his way through college, served in the Marines and became a police officer. When he decided to join the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, his mother tried to talk him out it. "I can't not do this," he told her. "I'm only one person, but I want to make a difference." The DEA sent Camarena to work undercover in Mexico investigating a major drug cartel believed to include officers in the Mexican army, police and government. On Feb. 7, 1985, the 37-year-old Camarena left his office to meet his wife for lunch. Five men appeared at the agent's side and shoved him in a car. One month later, Camarena's body was found in a shallow grave. He had been tortured to death. In honor of Camarena's memory and his battle against illegal drugs, friends and neighbors began to wear red badges of satin. Parents, sick of the destruction of alcohol and other drugs, had begun forming coalitions. Some of these new coalitions took Camarena as their model and embraced his belief that one person can make a difference. These coalitions also adopted the symbol of Camarena's memory, the red ribbon. The National Family Partnership organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign in 1988. Since that time, the campaign has reached millions of U.S. children. In 1997, the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse began committing resources to ensure the continuation of the Red Ribbon Campaign in Texas, as well as the hopes and beliefs behind this grassroots effort to protect children from the dangers of alcohol and other drugs.
School District 242 will be celebrating this week with Prairie Elementary students dressing up with a theme each day. On Friday they will be wearing red, white and blue in honor of the firemen, policemen, and agents that fight for a drug free world. The firemen and policemen of Cottonwood are invited to come and eat lunch with us as our guests. On Monday the elementary students and staff were joined by the high school band, cheerleaders and Drug Free Group in the Red Ribbon Parade. This Thursday the elementary students will be treated to readings by local writers. The freshman English classes created books for the elementary students promoting drug free messages and providing alternative things to do instead of drugs. A big thank you to Mrs. Remacle and her students for their creative works.
The Middle school has also been busy with a dress up week. The 5th graders designed bookmarks for the all three libraries, and the 6th graders decorated grocery sacks for the local stores, so be on the look out as you shop. The 7th graders designed informative posters for the cafeteria, and the 8th graders produced radio spots for KORT. Be sure to listen to their drug free messages all this week with the winners being announced on Thursday.
The drug free coordinators would like to thank the local businesses who donated items for our contest winners and also for their ongoing support of the students in this district. Let us remember Kiki Camarena as we proudly wear our Red Badges of Courage in our quest for a substance free society.