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The Student News Site of Lampasas High School

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Students Honor Red Ribbon Week

Joseph Neuenschwander
Junior Ryan Dane signs the pledge to not do drugs Oct. 25.

In March of 1985, a group of kidnappers involved in trafficking cocaine and marijuana took special agent KiKi Camarena, who was working for the Drug Enforcement Administration, hostage and murdered him. Shortly after his death, the Camarena Club was formed in Camarena’s hometown, and hundreds would wear red ribbons and pledge to live a drug free life to honor the sacrifices Camarena made.

Over time, this act of honor became known nationwide as “Red Ribbon Week” and is now celebrated by millions of people to raise awareness about the dangers and violence of drugs. 

“Red Ribbon Week honors not just his life but brings awareness to the violence that comes with drugs,” student council sponsor Jenn Moore said. “By nature, drugs are violent. The way they get into our country is not okay. People dying on the streets, literally from selling, is horrible. There are shootings all the time over just people who are dealing in the U.S. Drugs and violence go hand in hand.”

Red Ribbon Week was honored on campus by students through signing daily pledges to remain sober for the next 24 hours and participating in dress up days Oct. 23- 31. 

“I truly feel like it has the potential to open people’s eyes to drug issues and how they affect people’s lives,” student council secretary, junior Chloe Cowdrey said. “Even if it makes a difference in only one person’s life, it’s worth it.”

Since elementary school, celebrating this week has been the norm for many, especially the concept of celebrating it with costume days themed around preventing drug use. 

Student council sponsor Jenn Moore wears all red for the “Be The Bigger Dog,” Clifford Day Oct. 24. (Joseph Neuenschwander)

“If you can participate in something that is meant to be positive, maybe you can actually make a positive change in your life at some point,” Moore said “It just keeps it more interesting to be honest. Everybody’s tired of school, so it just kind of breaks up the monotony a little bit and it for sure brings discussion to the classrooms.”
After receiving ideas from the student body and coming up with ideas of their own, the student council had a meeting to vote for dress up day themes as well as tag lines such as Nerd Day: “Be smart. Don’t start” in which students were encouraged to dress like a nerd.

“I think my favorite is probably either the red out or white out because you can clearly see everyone participating and it essentially unites us as a school,” Cowdrey said. 

Students across campus participated in these themes. 

“My outfits have been made from borrowed items from my parents and plenty of trips to the store,” senior Keely Carl said. “I also had to help my sister make hers too.” 

A newer concept that began on campus last year is the daily sobriety pledges. Each day during Red Ribbon Week, a banner was placed in the main hall for students to sign and pledge to be sober for the entirety of that day. This idea came to Moore after a student had introduced her to the “I Am Sober” app which tracks the user’s sobriety. 

“I know that it’s made a difference because I’ve had kids since then show me their apps on their phone and say, ‘Look, I’m 13 days,’” Moore said. “The longest I think I’ve noticed is nine months. [On the app], there’s an inspirational quote and a single goal every day and it monitors when you might be kind of jonesing for a fix and gives you positive feedback throughout the day. It’s constantly there with you which is what you need if you’re trying to actually get sober.”

Senior Sahara Palomino dresses like a nerd for “Be Smart, Don’t Start,” Nerd Day Oct. 25. (Joseph Neuenschwander)

The daily pledge banners allow Red Ribbon Week to not only be something that prevents drugs but something that will help those who are already struggling gain the courage to stop or in some serious cases reach out for help. 

Moore said it is highly important to get students off of drugs because drug addiction leads to “not learning how to cope with life.”

“You’re not going to wake up as an adult someday and just know how to handle life,” she said. “[Teen drug abuse] creates adults who are overwhelmed and stressed out by the smallest inconveniences of life because they’ve never learned how to sit in their feels and figure things out in the moment.”

Some dress up days only required students to wear a color– like white out day, while others appealed to students who like to go over the top, such as Pixar day. 

“I think the goal is to kind of have something for everyone to participate in here and there,” Moore said.

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