Heightening awareness about healthy living and making good choices was promoted throughout the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District as students participated in the National Red Ribbon Campaign, Oct. 26-30. Established by the non-profit organization National Family Partnership, the campaign aims to raise consciousness about the consequences of destructive behaviors and reinforce good judgment and healthy living. This year’s theme was “Be Happy, Be Brave, Be Drug Free.”
Students participated in age-appropriate lessons throughout the week and took part in a different activity each day. At Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School, the focus was on “choosing kindness.”
“We believe that kindness is powerful and can create a compassionate school environment that will change the world for good and, in turn, help students make lifelong positive choices,” said Principal Ms. Tami McElwee and social worker Ms. Yennifer Muriel in a letter sent home to parents.
At James H. Vernon School, under the coordination of social worker Ms. Denise Ferrazano, students participated in virtual presentations by Camfel Productions that were sponsored by the OBEN Elementary PTA. Grades 3, 4, and 5 participated in a presentation called “Time to Shine,” which explored positive decision-making skills and relationships with peers. Grade 6 participated in the “Level Up” presentation, which examined making good choices, building confidence and being a positive role model. Other resources from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids at www.drugfree.org, were also shared with parents for tips on how to speak to their children about drugs and alcohol in a developmentally appropriate way.
Both schools celebrated the week with similar activities including wearing a superhero T-shirt for “Brave Monday,” creating an eye-catching hairstyle for “Wacky Hair Tuesday” and eating and observing healthy snacks for “Tasty Thursday.” Students and staff throughout the entire District wore red for “Wear Red Wednesday” to show their support of the campaign.
Under the guidance of social workers Mr. Matthew Brown and Ms. Migdalia Rosario, Oyster Bay High School combined the healthy lifestyles campaign with breast cancer awareness activities for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Students wore Breast Cancer Awareness masks and pink attire to raise consciousness of the importance of taking care of one’s health. Students also wore team jerseys for “Team Up Against Drugs” Day and ended the week by wearing pajamas, pink attire or a costume for “Dreaming of a Drug and Cancer-Free World Day.” Typically, the high school’s Students Against Destructive Behaviors (SADD) club hosts Grim Reaper Day, a sobering demonstration by student volunteers who represent actual teenagers who have died from making poor choices. Students gather in the lower gym lobby to witness student volunteers symbolically die after the circumstances of their deaths are read aloud. However, because students congregate to watch the demonstration, the event had to be canceled out of an abundance of caution for their safety and well-being.