Piggott Schools Mark Red Ribbon Week

Thursday, November 7, 2013
Framed against the beauty of the blue sky, students take part in the annual balloon release at the Red Ribbon Week rally at PES on Monday, Oct. 28.

Red Ribbon Week was marked at Piggott Schools last Monday through Friday, Oct. 28 to Nov. 1. The theme for this year was "Friends Don't Let Friends Bully, or Do Drugs." Kicking off the week-long observance was the 26th annual Red Ribbon Week rally, held Monday afternoon on the playground behind PES.

Clear skies and breezy conditions were the order of the day for this year's rally, as students, teachers and parents were welcomed by Piggott Elementary Principal Leean Mann. The students then took part in the annual balloon launch, releasing hundreds of latex balloons into the blue skies.

After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the students joined in singing the National Anthem accompanied by members of the Marching Mohawk band. Following a special song by music teacher Ellen Meadows, and the students, Mann introduced the special guests on hand for the occasion.

Piggott Mayor Gerald Morris offered sage advice to the students, as he encouraged them to live drug-free lives. Jeremi Wicker, representing the Piggott Police Department, was also in attendance and gave the students tips on a safe Halloween. Those in attendance also heard from Clay County Sheriff Gerald McClung, who reminded students that all members of law enforcement are there to help and protect them--and should be trusted. And, the students heard a word of encouragement from Piggott Schools Superintendent Charlie Powell.

The winners of the annual coloring contest were then introduced, with Paula O. Blackwell and Jim Poole of Piggott Community Sharing Hearts, Inc. handing out prize money in recognition.

This year's coloring contest winners included--from ABC Preschool the top entries were Libby Brantley, in Mrs. Marilyn's class; Emma Rathel from Ms. Jo's class and Brooklyn Harmon from Mrs. Andrea's class.

In kindergarten the winners included Andrew Shultz, from Ms. Marissa's class; Gabbee Sanders from Mrs. Laura French's class; Alyssa Miller from Mrs. Katrina's class and Jocelyn Rathel in Mrs. Shelby's class.

The first grade winners included Addy Hickson in Mrs. Hope's class; William Lucas in Mrs. Jessica's class; Karlee Hall in Mrs. Pam's class and Lillyan Costner in Mrs. Vanessa's class.

And, in second grade the winners included Kashlen Brenna in Mrs. Laura Brantley's class; Jadah Smith in Mrs. Nikki's class and Madison Wright in Ms. Veda's class.

The winners of the essay contest were then announced, and Blackwell and Poole again passed out prize money from Piggott Community Sharing Hearts, Inc.

This year's essay winners included, from third grade--Natalie Blake from Heather Seegrave's class; Haley Seal from Kathy Coyle's class and Shawn-Hudson Seegraves from Carol Keys' class. Winners from fourth grade included--Chase Lewis from Tammy Cashion's class; Sebastian Mayberry from Debbie Dunlap's class and Summer Pollard from Amber Murray's class. The fifth grade winners included-Morgan Smart from Tonya Helm's class; Tana Benson from Vickie Benson's class and Shalyn Parrish from Sherri Wright's class. And, the sixth grade winners included--Maggie Williams from Jennifer Benson's class; Carlie Vancil from Cobi Hendrix's class and Drake Featherston from Veleda Langley's class.

Overall winners also announced, and had the opportunity to read their essays. The overall winners from each individual class were Natalie Blake for third grade, Chase Lewis from fourth grade, Morgan Smart from fifth grade and Maggie Williams from the sixth grade.

Those on hand also enjoyed several selections performed by the Marching Mohawk Band, and the drum line, along with a performance by the peewee cheerleaders.

Mann also took a moment to recognize Mycah Blascoe, winner of the fourth grade "Youth Power" t-shirt design contest.

Afterward, the assembly enjoyed a presentation by guest speaker Andy Newbill, pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Piggott. Newbill, using a clean and un-wrinkled sheet of paper for reference, spoke to the students about the consequences of both doing drugs and bullying. He explained that, once a piece of paper has been wadded-up or otherwise damaged it's nearly impossible to ever put it back the way it once was--and applied the analogy to drug use and bullying in one's life.

Other activities and observances were held throughout the remainder of the week. Tuesday was pajama day, as students were invited to wear their sleepwear--and donate items such as deodorant, toothpaste, soap and shampoo. Wednesday was "Wear Pink" day in support of breast cancer awareness and Thursday was Duck Dynasty/costume day. The week closed out Friday with "Team Up Against Drugs" day, as all students were encouraged to wear their Mohawk gear--or attire representing their favorite sports team.

Red Ribbon Week organizers offered their thanks to Newbill, and all the others who took part in Monday's rally. They also offered thanks to Aerial Bouquets for providing the balloons, ribbon and helium for the balloon launch--and to Margrette Crawford, Annette Hill, Scotty Wright and Mona Scott for inflating them and delivering them to each classroom.

Red Ribbon Week first started in the late 1980's in memory of DEA Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, who was kidnapped and murdered by drug smugglers in 1985. Shortly after his death, Congressman, Duncan Hunter, and high school friend Henry Lozano, launched Camarena Clubs in Kiki's hometown in Calexico, Calif. Hundreds of club members, including Calexico High School teacher David Dhillon, wore red ribbons and pledged to lead drug-free lives to honor the sacrifices made by Camarena and others on behalf of all Americans.

Red Ribbon Week eventually gained momentum throughout California and later the United States. In 1985, club members presented the "Camarena Club Proclamation" to then First Lady Nancy Reagan, bringing it national attention. Later that summer, parent groups in California, Illinois, and Virginia began promoting the wearing of Red Ribbons nationwide during late October. The campaign was then formalized in 1988 with President and Mrs. Reagan serving as honorary chairpersons.

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