Special to the Item
The Picayune Item
Pearl River Central Upper and Lower Elementary Schools celebrated National Red Ribbon Week October 22-26, 2012. Red Ribbon Week is a celebration of a drug-free life in honor of fallen hero, DEA Special Agent, Enrique (KiKi) Camarena. This event is celebrated each year at every school throughout the nation to encourage students to live a drug-free life. As part of the celebration, the school provided small prizes with drug-free messages for students. These prizes included red ribbons, stickers, and suckers. They will also receive “jumping frogs” to complete the celebration.
This year’s Red Ribbon theme was “I’m Toadily Against Drugs” which used frogs with the theme. The campus was decorated with red ribbons, banners, and balloons. Each classroom participated in a door-decorating contest in which the students made decorations for their door to incorporate this year’s theme. They learned about the hazards of tobacco and drug use and how it negatively affects our lives. During the entire month of October, drug-free education was presented throughout the Upper and Lower Elementary with the use of the RAT (Reject All Tobacco) curriculum. The “Terrance the Rat” computer disc was presented to 3rd grade, and information regarding the hazards of smokeless tobacco was presented to the 5th grade.
The 4th grade was instructed regarding the hazards of smoking. They were instructed regarding the pathophysiology of the respiratory system and the negative effects of smoke and nicotine on our bodies.
On Monday, October 22nd, Pearl River Central’s 2012 Homecoming Queen, Chantel Utecht, talked with the Kindergarten classes regarding the importance of good character to be drug-free and successful in life. On Tuesday, October 23rd, Deborah Craig’s 8th grade drama class presented an anti-drug skit with frogs and toads around a pond learning how to make good choices, and learning the hard way that is it much better to be tobacco, alcohol, and drug-free. They encouraged the students to “Just Say No!” They presented this skit to the Lower Elementary students. On Friday, October 26th, a magician, Joseph Harris, performed a magic show for Upper Elementary students to indicate how drugs can be tricky and how important it is to be aware of this. He emphasized the importance of making good choices which includes our choice of friends who influence us. Karla Strahan, Upper Librarian, helped with the sound equipment for the presentation of all these shows. We really appreciate all of the hard work and dedication from each of these groups and their sponsors for their willingness to perform each year.
The annual door-decorating contest was finally completed last week. The teachers were asked to have their students help to decorate a door using the theme. All teachers who participated had their names entered for a random drawing to purchase items for their classroom or for their students. The doors were judged initially by Penny Holifield to determine 3 finalists per grade and category. The final selection for the door winners was made by Jodi Marze of the Picayune Item. The doors were judged according to the theme, color, originality, and student participation.
The classroom and office winners were as follows: Kindergarten: Sheri Franklin - 1st place, Angela Fitzgerald - Honorable Mention; 1st grade: Suzanne Berthelot – 1st place, Laura Stupack and Peggy Miley – Honorable Mention; 2nd grade: Carla Kamlade– 1st place, Katie Johnson – Honorable Mention; Lower Elementary Special/Activity winner: Robin Mitchell – Preschool Department; 3rd grade: Shannon Matute – 1st place, Nicole Mitchell – Honorable Mention; 4th grade: Martha Cox – 1st place; 5th grade: Keri Herrin – 1st place; Upper Elementary Special/Activity winner: Tracy Stockstill gifted students with special recognition given to the entire Upper Elementary Gifted department for incorporating the drug-free theme into their study of National Parks and used frogs as their forest rangers; Judy Zundell and Sherryl Scontrino -Upper Elementary Tutoring won the Special Division and Darlene Mitchell-SPED won Honorable Mention for that category. The Office Winner was Upper Elementary. All winners won trophies. The classroom winners received small student and classroom prizes. The office winner will receive a meal from a local restaurant. The Overall Lower Elementary winner was Suzanne Berthelot in 1st grade. Her door theme incorporated a storybook with a story written by her class regarding the importance of staying away from drugs. Her girl students were the princesses who kissed the frogs (who looked like her boy students) to turn them into handsome, drug-free princes. The Overall Upper Elementary winner was Ms. Shannon Matute in 3rd grade. Her students wrote paragraphs describing what drugs can do to you and why you should stay away from them. The students were photographed in frog hats on a lily pad with long tongues made from “Fruit by the Foot.” The Overall classroom winners received classroom, teacher, and individual student prizes. Marsha Moore in Kindergarten won the “Most Original” award. Their door incorporated a space ship with little frog astronauts and the importance of staying drug-free. Her class also received a trophy and small prizes. This year’s celebration ended with a county-wide March Against Drugs on October 27th in Picayune. This march was sponsored by the Pearl River County United Coalition which has been formed to stand against drugs and substance abuse in our county. The Coalition members consists of the local sheriff and police departments, superintendents, church and community leaders. Students and faculty from Picayune, Poplarville, and Pearl River County School Districts joined together to take a stand against the hazardous effects of drugs and alcohol on our families and communities by marching 2 miles from Resurrection Life on Memorial Blvd. to the City Park on Goodyear Blvd. The Bands of Picayune and Pearl River Central performed for the crowd, and the cheerleaders from Picayune, PRC, and Poplarville roused the crowd with several anti-drug cheers. There were several speakers from each district to encourage a better way of life. The keynote speaker was Micheal Lewis, former Saints player and current Saints ambassador. He addressed the everyday issues in the life of a teen that influences all of their decisions which included basis respect for their parents and daily responsibilities. He emphasized that to be truly successful in life that you must respect yourself and others enough not to use drugs.
We would like to thank all of those mentioned for helping make our week a success. We also thank everyone for their patience during the judging for the Door-decorating Contest. We’d especially like to thank our teachers for their continued positive influences on our students throughout the school year by encouraging them to always try their best. Finally, we extend congratulations to all the winners.