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St. Croix Central students seeing red

Students at St. Croix Central Middle and Elementary schools pledged to make healthy life choices while remaining drug, alcohol and tobacco free this past week.

Red Ribbon Week is held annually during the last week of October across the nation.

The campaign started in 1988 after the murder of Enrique Camarena, an agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency. In 1985, he was kidnapped and brutally killed after he played a key role in shutting down many of Mexico's drug production plants.

Camarena's death, along with the deaths of many other DEA agents, exposed the evils of drug trafficking and how far the leaders in the drug world would go.

Red Ribbon Week now works to raise awareness about the harms of drugs, alcohol and tobacco to students.

The Middle School held special events all week. Students reading the morning announcements relayed statistics and effects of bad choices.

On Wednesday, the Middle School's efforts went beyond the building. Students who brought in donations for the food pantry were issued licenses to wear a hat for the day. Hats are typically not allowed in school.

Roberts food pantry director Roene Frederickson said St. Croix Central schools are one of the biggest contributors to the food pantry.

"They do a great job," she said. Students collected seven large boxes of non-perishable food for the food pantry.

On Thursday, Middle Schoolers bought lollipops for 25 cents. After reading and signing a pledge, students got a free bracelet.

During advisory time, students decorated teachers' doors. The theme was "We have better things to do than drugs."

Grades 1-4 at the Elementary School participated in various activities as well.

The first grade painted sweatshirts that said "I love me." Guidance Counselor Barb Bowman said their discussions focused on healthy choices to show that they love themselves.

Second graders made posters with their goals, future plans and things they like on them.

Third graders decorated grocery bags for the Roberts Grocery Store to use. The theme for them was "Healthy Choices," Bowman said.

Fourth graders participated in the St. Croix County District Attorney's drug poster contest.

The winners of the contest haven't been named yet. Thirteen kids from across the county are chosen to have their drawings published in a calendar.

Bowman said all the grades have a take-home activity to do with their parents or guardians. Afterward, the students brought back a list of goals. Bowman then had discussions with all the classes about their goals.

Bowman said the Elementary tries to focus on positive things students can do for themselves.

"Rather than don't, don't, don't, it's do, do, do," she said.

She added, "It's good for kids to set goals, be positive and think about things you can do to be a better you."