of Red Ribbon Week
The history of Red Ribbon Week is a sad but truly heroic one.
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. Then he decided to join the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, 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.
Prairie Schools Celebrate Red Ribbon Week
October 22-26 was National Red Ribbon Week. The Prairie Schools celebrated this week with many activities. The elementary school kicked off the week with their annual parade. The Prairie High School and Junior High bands along with the Drug Free Group joined them as they made their way from the school thorough downtown and back to the elementary school.
The elementary students and teachers participated in the dress up week. Each day had a theme ranging from all red day to hit the trail (western clothes) to the red, white and blue day (in honor of the men and women that keep us safe from drugs). Some of the firemen joined the students for lunch on Friday as honored guests.
As you drive by the elementary school you can see the words DRUG FREE written in red ribbons. This was Christa Wilsonís idea. She is the president of the drug free group at the high school. Christa, Jessica Gehring and Alex Richardson worked on the lettering before red ribbon week and then the students completed the look. Thank you Christa and girls!
The middle school also had a variety of activities during the week. The dress up week was a big success. The staff loves the switch day (people can influence your life in many ways) where they dress like a student. Mrs. Forsmann, Mrs. Sonnen, Mrs. Savage and Mrs. Riener certainly captured their favorite students dress! Crazy Hair Day (doing drugs can be a hair raising experience) made for some interesting doís. The middle school students also invited our local firemen to come and eat lunch with them. The firemen were introduced and thanked for all they do to keep our community safe from drugs. Each grade had a red ribbon project. The 5th graders made bookmarks. The 6th graders decorated grocery sacks for Rienerís Grocery Store, the 7th graders made posters and the 8th graders recorded radio spots for KORT. The winners of each grade were announced at an assembly on Thursday.
Thank you to all who helped and participated in this special week. We can make a difference in our community and with our students. If anyone would like information on topics involving street drugs, alcohol or tobacco please contact Colleen Sonnen District #242 Safe and Drug Free School Coordinator.