For the past six years, Allendale Middle School has been participating in the National Red Ribbon Anti-Drug Campaign. Striving to educate students on the very real dangers of drugs, students on the middle school Leadership Team worked under the mentorship of Ms. Rhonda Wilson to create a week of activities to get kids thinking intentionally about choosing a drug – free path into their futures.
The first two days of Red Ribbon Week placed students face-to-face with the dangers of drugs in a brief trivia quiz created by the AMS Leadership Team. Students who completed the quiz were entered into a drawing to win prizes. Students also had the opportunity later in the week to add their ideas to a giant interactive poster entitled, “A Million Things To Do Besides Drugs,” and then to show unity for a drug-free future by wearing red in honor of “Red Ribbon Week.”
Ms. Wilson noted that the “Million Things To Do” idea has spurred thinking and helped kids consider how precious their time really is. It has also emphasized that if bored or struggling, there are many alternatives to dealing with pain or frustration than dabbling in illegal drugs. In years past students have come up with everything from, “I can play my guitar instead of doing drugs,” to “I can walk the dog” or “read a book.” Just getting them thinking, said Ms. Wilson, is a great first step toward awareness.
7th Graders Linnea Hartz and Carson DeLoof are two of the girls on the Leadership Team who worked on making the trivia game and finding the right statistics. They also collaborated on how the team could best improve awareness at school. Both girls are passionate about helping their classmates to see the dangers of drug use.
“The statistics show us that some kids begin using drugs like marijuana in 7th or 8th grade,” said Linnea. “I think it’s sad that many kids don’t realize how serious drugs are and how one wrong choice can affect your future.”
Carson and Linnea, along with their teammates, will go on to spearhead projects around the holidays as well as the school’s anti-bullying awareness week in March. Mrs. Wilson credits the Leadership Team with their natural ability to rally classmates and cast a vision for something better.
“Students on the Leadership Team are chosen only on the basis of character and leadership ability. It is one instance that we do not look at grades to consider participation. Teachers nominate kids because they have a natural bent toward leading, and doing so positively,” explained Ms. Wilson.
Thank you to each of the AMS students who helped make Red Ribbon Week a success!