Brittany Swartout

Stay drug free.

Faith Frith, Staff Reporter

That special time of the year for a student to pronounce that he or she is “drug-free” is here again. This year’s Red Ribbon Week begins on Monday, October 22 and concludes on Friday, October 26:  the same week as SHS’s 2012 homecoming.

Students might wonder why Red Ribbon Week is scheduled for the same week as Homecoming when they hear the news. According to Ms. Renee Mills, Red Ribbon week materials “come from the county office.” Simply put, Red Ribbon Week is a national campaign, not just a Seminole High School or Seminole County one.

This year, don’t expect Red Ribbon Week spirit days as in previous years; however, still expect to take a pledge to be drug-free and wear a red ribbon. Large red ribbons will be displayed on campus courtesy of Seminole’s PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association).

An art contest will also be held during the week. Art submissions are accepted from October 22 until October 26. A special prize will be awarded on October 29 to the best piece of art.

“I would love to enter [the art contest] if I have time,” sophomore Vanessa Esteban said. “I love any excuse that will allow me to draw, paint and show off my work, especially if it’s to support a cause like Red Ribbon Week.”

Although Red Ribbon Week this year clashes with Homecoming Week, students can still expect to be educated on the importance of resisting the use of illegal substances as well as the abuse of over-the-counter drugs via statistics or facts that will appear on NDN News.

Red Ribbon Week was established in 1985 following the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena. Camarena was murdered in Mexico City at the hands of drug traffickers. According to the National Family Partnership, the red ribbons were then used to represent “intolerance towards the use of drugs.” Schools across the country participate in Red Ribbon Week to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs taken without a parent’s or doctor’s consent.

Elementary schools use Red Ribbon Week to introduce students in kindergarten through fifth grade to the risks of drugs. The same notion is reinforced in middle school and high school. High schools are especially in support of Red Ribbon Week because most people apparently begin their drug abuse during their teenage years. According to MedlinePlus, “17 percent of students —  roughly 2.8 million – are abusing drugs during the school day.”

“I have participated in Red Ribbon Week ever since I was in elementary school,” explained sophomore Aisha Doston. “It’s a great cause.”