RAPID CITY, S.D. — In the classrooms of Pinedale Elementary School, there’s more than students completing their school work.
Especially during this week, Red Ribbon Week.
“Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and the largest drug free prevention program in the United States,” said Cricket Palmer, the Champion of the Red Ribbon School Week Committee.
It kicked off on Monday with a trip to Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, where students hung their pledge for everyone to see.
“That is a visual reminder for people to know that the importance that these kids have to choose to be drug free,” Palmer said.
Roaming schools this week, like Pinedale Elementary, are Don Stover and Cricket of the Rushmore Noon Optimists who are spreading that message.
They’re presenting awards and ribbons to celebrate the most creative examples.
“We judge these schools and then the winning school gets a traveling trophy which is a beautiful representation of red ribbon and we also merge the $250 prize for their school to spend as they need to spend,” said Stover.
Across Rapid City, Lifeways counselors are preparing.
“This is where we decorate the school in red and we really just drive home the message,” said Cassity Goetz, a Lifeways Counselor with North Middle School.
Counselors that are preparing with classes to promote a drug free lifestyle.
“We start to just educate kids on what drugs do to your body and how we can use coping skills to prevent drug use in their teenage years,” Goetz said.
That’s where students are stepping in to speak to their peers and show their support.
“It’s easier and doesn’t hurt as much coming from friends sometimes than coming from adults and they sometimes they may know what you’re going through, ’cause they may have gone through what you’re going through, or they can relate to you and they’re there for you a lot more,” said Kamryn Stauffacher, a Student at North Middle School.