For the past 29 years October has brought Red Ribbon Week, the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the U.S. For many students it is now one of the highlights of the school year as Army Helicopters pay a visit to their school.
Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 as a local tribute to Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer who lost his life fighting against drug trafficking in Mexico.
District 50 embraced Red Ribbon Week with guests appearances by Special Agent Albert Villasuso of the DEA and members of the United States Army who flew in on an Army helicopter to deliver a special message to students.
“Your decisions now can be tough: Pancakes or waffles? Xbox or PlayStation?” asked Villasuso. “But one day you will need to decide whether you will use drugs or not.”
Students happily took the ‘No Drugs Pledge’ in front of their teachers and friends by declaring, “I promise to keep my dreams alive and keep myself drug free.”
After taking the pledge each student received a red ribbon.
Students also received some interactive time with the helicopter when they were able to see the aircraft up close and chat with the pilot.
Since its humble beginning in 1985, Red Ribbon Week has grown by receiving national recognition and preserving Camarena’s life work of reducing the demand for drugs through education.
This week the Board of Education also recognized the importance of the week by signing the annual “Red Ribbon Proclamation” and recognizing the hard work of the Westminster Area Community Action and Awareness Team.