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Red Ribbon Week begins Monday

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Escambia County Middle School students will participate in many fun activities as well as receive educational information about drug awareness during the upcoming Red Ribbon Week "Stomp the Drugs" celebration at the school.
Throughout the week ECMS students will have different scheduled announcements and presentations in the name of drug awareness, according to seventh and eighth grade counselor Cordia Coleman-Lee.
"The students are excited," Coleman-Lee said. "We'll do different things throughout the week and the businesses have been very supportive. The children are excited because of the gifts and incentives we're giving away."
Many businesses in Atmore are supporting the Red Ribbon Week at ECMS by supplying different products throughout the week. First National Bank will supply prizes for a teacher's contest at the school. Turner Funeral Home will have gifts for the students. Pizza Hut, Rite-Aid and United Bank are a few more businesses who are supporting the school.
"I want to thank the businesses in the community who have supported us," Coleman-Lee said.
Coleman-Lee said that ECMS celebrates the drug awareness and prevention week every year.
"This is an annual event not only at this school, but throughout the United States," she said.
The week is jammed full of events and each grade is involved in the experience. Monday during the announcements an eighth grader will read the "Meaning of Red Ribbon Week" and the school will be decorated with red ribbon motif. Tuesday a seventh grade student will read "I Dare You." Wednesday a sixth grader will read "Death of the Innocent" and Thursday a fifth grader will read "The Car." Each of the poems read are anti-drug. Also on Thursday there will be a Drug Awareness presentation. Friday there will be a Red Ribbon Ceremony featuring a Drug Task officer as the guest speaker. There will also be a rap contest.
Friday is also going to hold a contest for the teachers where students nominate the teacher who is the most positive role model. The teacher who wins will receive the Enrique Camerena Award, which recognizes the one teacher who has made the most positive contribution to the student body.
Enrique Camerena was a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was killed in Mexico in 1985 and the award is in honor of his sacrifice of life.
Atmore mayor Howard Shell will also be at the school during the week to present a proclamation stating Oct. 22-26 is Red Ribbon Week.
Although the students at Escambia County Middle School are only from grades 5-8, assistant principal Diane Smith said drugs can still be a problem at that age.
"Drugs effect their process to really think," Smith said. "I've seen some students who become very sluggish in class, very sleepy, inattentive and hungry. If it is a major problem here, we're really monitoring it. The students come to the school with only the equipment for learning. They (drug task force) does random searches and haven't come up with any problems."
All parents are invited to attend the closing ceremonies for the Red Ribbon Week at ECMS Friday afternoon. Please call the school at 368-9105 for the time of the program.