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HOMER-CENTER: Students support Red Ribbon Week

by By JULIA BUGGEY, Gazette Student News Reporter on October 25, 2013 11:00 AM

HOMER CITY — Homer-Center High School successfully promoted drug and alcohol awareness this past week by celebrating the national Red Ribbon Week campaign.

The staff and students participated in various activities and contests to bring about the importance of being drug and alcohol free. Students were given a red wrist band to wear all week with the words, “drug free and proud to be,” created by student Laken Berezanksy. The students that wore their bracelets the entire week were eligible to participate in any contest or activity of their choice, the reward being selected prizes.

[Read the complete roundup of area high school news from the Gazette's network of student news reporters on Fridays in The Indiana Gazette and in the Student News section on The Indiana Gazette Online.]

Each day of the week had an interesting way of getting our students involved effectively. Monday’s theme for the day was given the title “Give Drugs the Boot,” in which all members of the school district wore their favorite boots. The winner of the best boots, Heather Paynter, received a prize for her participation. Another prize-worthy opportunity was open to all students who signed the huge, artistic “Red Ribbon Week” banner in the main lobby of the school, making their promise to live an anti-drug and alcohol-free life with their signatures.

Tuesday, perhaps the most effective of them all, included the “Every 30 Minutes” program and a red-out for both red ribbon activities and the American Heart Association. On this day, we represented the fact that a loved one is lost every half-hour due to bad decisions with drugs and alcohol, such as fatal car accidents. Random students from all grade levels were selected as victims and taken out of class by the grim reaper, Kristina Albright, to represent a death. The victims then had to dress in complete white clothing, have their faces painted white, and were forbidden to talk for the rest of the day once they were selected. Albright told us the scary reality of the hypothetical situations.

“Reading obituary after obituary to the remaining students in the classrooms was a depressing feeling. It’s just really scary that these sudden accidents could happen to anyone at any time. These obituaries of students dying because of drug- and alcohol-related accidents are real somewhere in the real world,” Albright said sadly.

Emily Wiltrout, a junior and witness of Tuesday’s program, said, “It truly made me realize how serious the issue is. You don’t know how much time you have left with your friends; it’s a frightening reality to see how many people pass away in such a short amount of time.”

I, myself, was a victim of this program and had to type up my own obituary for the grim reaper to read aloud. It was an extremely eerie feeling; when myself and other students were wearing nothing but white, even on our faces, and unable to talk as though we no longer existed, it had an effect on everyone, not just myself. I personally feel that the program’s intentions and messages hit home for some students.

On Wednesday, Homer-Center’s students looked snazzy as they dressed up for the “Strive for Success, Don’t Use Drugs or Alcohol” theme of the day. In addition, trivia forms with drug- and alcohol-related questions were distributed in homerooms; the papers with the correct answers were entered into a drawing to win prizes.

Even Spanish classes have created paper buttons with slogans relating to living a drug- and alcohol-free life. If these students wore their decorative buttons each day of this week, they received a bonus point each day in their Spanish classes.

Next up, Thursday had our students dressing comfy to match the theme “Living Drug Free is No Sweat.” Social networking promoters of Red Ribbon Week and essay and poster competitors turned in their messages or works of art in order to become eligible for more prizes.

Today, we tied our theme in with October’s breast cancer awareness and gave it the title, “Team Up Against Cancer.” Everyone was encouraged to wear pink for our annual cancer walk and winners for the essay and poster contests were determined. Overall, Red Ribbon Week gave our students the appreciation and awareness all students need concerning the evils of drugs and alcohol. It also gave us another spirit week to be creative and wear outfits supporting the causes.

On a side note, Homer-Center’s finest scholars attended their annual Academic Luncheon on Wednesday, to reward and congratulate them on the previous year’s accomplishments.

Homer-Center’s quiz bowl teams, both varsity and junior varsity, competed in their first round of the year at Purchase Line on Tuesday. Varsity’s quiz bowl team consists of Laura Jones, Jill Overman, Michael Sweeney, Logan Dellafiora and Nick Silveri. Austin Cramer, Hayden Michael, Rick Orr, Chris Rura and Ben Wolford make up the members of the junior varsity team.  

As for sports, HC girls’ volleyball came to an end, their senior night taking place this past Tuesday with a victory over Marion Center. Similarly, the football team will take on Penns Manor tonight on Homer’s field at 7 p.m. along with a senior night ceremony. Hope to see all of you Wildcat fans there.

On a closing note to this week’s news, we remind everyone in the community that our first blood mobile, sponsored by the National Honor Society, for this year takes place on Monday for all of those willing to give blood for a great cause. Tune in next week to hear more news about Homer-Center’s student life, upcoming events and activity involvement.

PHOTO: Victims of the  “Every 30 Minutes” program at Homer-Center High School were, back row from left, Tanner Yancy, Elisabeth Schmidt, Stephen Novak, Darren Carr, Veronica Manzanilla and Josh Kovalcik; and front row, Emma Nipps, Corey Cavalier, Abby Griffith; Kristina Albright (grim reaper, dressed in black); Julia Buggey, Taylor Palmer and Abby Yancy. (Megan Ratay/Homer-Center High School)

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