Students pledge to be drug-free during Red Ribbon Week
November 4, 2013
VILSECK, Germany -- On Oct. 31, the Grim Reaper roamed the halls of Vilseck High School, but his eerie presence had nothing to do with Halloween.
Walking somberly into various classrooms, the implement of death chose more than 25 student volunteers to represent the number of casualties in a day for alcohol-related accidents.
It was a sobering visual to end Red Ribbon Week at the school, said Cristal Cook, the adolescent substance abuse counselor for the school.
"Red Ribbon week is an education about alcohol and drugs; the facts, the consequences of use - health, legal, addiction, emotional - and an overall educated awareness of the risks surrounding use," said Cook.
And watching your classmates meet their staged demise due to addiction and abuse did just that.
"I think it really emphasized the point," said senior Michael Nelson. "We wanted to get the attention of students."
Nelson, along with his twin brother, Ben, and student council president Phillip Ramirez, helped plan the weeklong event with an emphasis on activities that would not only raise awareness about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, but also allow students to participate in activities that showcase those dangers.
Students wearing beer goggles stumbled through the cafeteria after a visit with law enforcement agents; cheerleaders performed in honor of a drug free existence; and students pledged their sobriety on red post-it notes plastered on a school window.
Ramirez said the event was successful, and the message got out. But for him and many of his fellow students, being drug free isn't just a choice.
"It's a lifestyle," said Ramirez, "and our actions speak louder than words."