Red Ribbon Week being brings drug awareness to area students

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 27, 2004

It began with one man, now schools across the country – including Demopolis City Schools – celebrate the life and honor the death of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena with Red Ribbon Week.

DEA special agent Camerena spent his career fighting the war against drugs, until his death in 1985, when he was kidnapped, brutally tortured and slain by drug traffikers. It was following his death that Camerena’s fellow agents, friends and family banded together and began the red ribbon campaign, a campaign to reduce demand for drugs through prevention and education programs.

Demopolis schools have a week full of activities, all promoting a drug-free life. The week kicked off at U.S. Jones with a visit from Mayor Cecil Williamson, who signed a proclamation declaring the week of Oct. 25-29 as Red Ribbon/Drug Awareness Week.

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“One person really can make a difference in the world,” she told students. “Enrique “Kiki” Camarena did. He came from a poor family but worked very hard to become a police officer. He said, ‘I am only one person, but I want to make a difference,'” she said.

“Today, remember this. You may be just one small person, but you can make a difference during Red Ribbon Week. Wear a red ribbon and let people know that you want to do your part to end drug and alcohol abuse. Share Kiki Camerena’s story with others and inspire them to do the same thing,” Williamson said.

Students signed a pledge agreeing to stay drug free and the school is collecting canned goods throughout the week for the “I can, you can, we all can say no to drugs” food drive. The homeroom that collects the most canned foods will receive a pizza party.

Tuesday looked like multiple sets of multiples had descended on the school for “Friends help friends stay drug free” day. Friends dressed alike and had their pictures made together.

Wednesday students and teachers will be seeing red as they participate in “Make a commit’mint’ to remain drug free.” On this day, parents and guardians are encouraged to visit their child’s homeroom and sign their drug free pledge. The homeroom with the most parent participation will receive a popcorn and movie party. Teachers must participate as well to claim 100 percent.

Thursday is “Be sharp, stay away from drugs,” and students will be given “I like me drug free” pencils.

The week will end with the grand finale “Lei (lay) off drugs,” when not only students and teachers, but parents as well, are asked to dress in Hawaiin attire. The canned food contest will come to an end at 9 a.m.

Students at Demopolis High School have also signed the pledge to be drug-free and are recognizing campaign efforts at their campus too.