Helping elementary students understand the dangers of drug use, and providing high schoolers the chance to act as leaders and positive role models, the Red Ribbon Week annual drug awareness program was recognized across East Islip School District during the last week of October. The week culminated with members of the high school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club speaking in fifth-grade classrooms at John F. Kennedy and Ruth C. Kinney elementary schools, and encouraging the younger students to participate in an anti-drug poster contest.
The four contest winners – JFK fifth-graders Jessica Peluso and Kayla Sciallo and RCK fifth-graders Miranda Paige Stockton and Griffin Wylie – were recognized at the East Islip Board of Education’s November business meeting, and awarded certificates and prizes.
“Our SADD organization at the high school is comprised of amazing students who recognize the importance of delivering valuable lessons regarding healthy lifestyles to their younger peers,” said adviser Bridget Lopiccolo. “I am very proud of them as well as the fifth-graders who participated in this year’s slogan contest.”
At RCK, following daily Red Ribbon themes that promoted saying no to drugs, including No Sweat Day, where students and staff were asked to wear sweatshirts and sweatpants, and Team Day, where they wore their favorite sports team apparel, a special Red Ribbon Week essay and art contest was held, sponsored by the school’s PTA. The winners were third-graders Terri Sonnanburg (art) and Cassidy McConnell (essay), fourth-graders Joshua DiPrima-Bien (art) and Olivia Simonetti (essay), and fifth-graders Kamilah Pasha (art) and Mary DeLorenzo (essay).
“There were so many wonderful submissions, it was really hard to choose winners,” said Principal Danielle Naccarato.
Meanwhile, over at Connetquot Elementary School, pre-K through third grade students also observed Red Ribbon Week with a variety of special PTA-sponsored activities. The theme at Connetquot this year was connected to the school’s character education monthly traits of being an upstanding citizen and choosing a healthy lifestyle. Students pledged to be “wise as an owl” and brought in paper owls to be colored and displayed in the cafeteria. On one day, students wore their shirts backwards to illustrate “turning their backs on bad choices,” while the entire student body joined in Zumba classes during recess to demonstrate healthy activities. Connetquot’s week culminated in a presentation by entertainer Janice Buckner. The show, “Safe Not Sorry,” enlightened students about important, thoughtful choices that can keep everyone safe. Buckner’s interactive show used songs, puppets, and stories to foster creativity and critical thinking, and students participated by clapping and singing along.
“Red Ribbon Week reminded us all how much fun it can be to find healthy activities and make good choices,” said Connetquot Principal Deborah Smith.