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The Tobacco Free Partnership of DeSoto County partners with the DeSoto County School Board and Drug Free DeSoto Coalition to Recognize Red Ribbon Week
November 2, 2016

Red Ribbon Week is an alcohol, tobacco, and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually in the United States. In fact, it is the Nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention program, reaching millions of Americans during the last week of October every year.

By wearing red ribbons and participating in various community anti-drug events, young people pledge to live a drug-free lifestyle and pay tribute to DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. Special Agent Camarena was an 11-year DEA veteran assigned to the Guadalajara, Mexico, office, where he was on the trail of the country’s biggest marijuana and cocaine traffickers. In 1985, he was extremely close to unlocking a multi-billion dollar drug pipeline. However, on February 7, 1985, he was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by Mexican drug traffickers. His tragic death opened the eyes of many Americans to the dangers of drugs and the international scope of the drug trade.

The Tobacco Free Partnership of DeSoto County was happy to partner with the DeSoto County School Board and Drug Free DeSoto Coalition to bring awareness to this campaign.  All schools throughout the district were encouraged to celebrate by dressing up each day, as well as showing their school spirit in whatever suited their school best. During Red Ribbon Week, members from all three organizations sent representatives around to visit the school sites and “judge” their Red Ribbon spirit.

DeSoto Middle and High School participated by putting a message on the fence for all community members to see. The fence at both schools read “We are Drug Free.” SWAT youth at DMS also created and displayed posters around the school with various drug facts and awareness. "It was great to see many students getting involved and promoting a drug free life. The teachers and administrators within the Desoto County School District also showed a strong interest in drug awareness and prevention and because of their leadership, our kids rocked their presentations!" - Asya Shine, Drug Free DeSoto & TFP Member

At West Elementary, judges were greeted by tiny “security officers” who led them to the cafeteria where they were presented with a school wide chant. There were also various banners hung up around the school. The students at WES were thrilled to show off their chanting skills and the judges loved being a part of it.

West Elementary School students proudly pose for a quick picture
after leading their peers in a school wide chant for Red Ribbon Week.

Nocatee Elementary took judges for a stroll down ‘drug free lane’ where each grade level was responsible for creating a bulletin board that promoted a drug free life. There was also a drug free pledge wall in the cafeteria for all students to sign. The Emotional and Behavioral Class came through at just the right time and made sure the judges knew the true meaning of Red Ribbon Week. It was great to see the main hall of the school decorated for all visitors to see.  

Last, but certainly not least, Memorial Elementary, the winners of our Red Ribbon Week School Spirit. Every single door at MES was decorated, and it was obvious that both teachers and students were involved in the process. In addition to all doors being decorated, they also had 3 solo cup fence messages declaring “MES is drug free!” They went above and beyond to make their students and parents aware of Red Ribbon Week.

A special shout out to Memorial Elementary School, our 2016 1st Place Red Ribbon Week Spirit Winners! MES did an amazing job making the drug free spirit prominent throughout the entire campus! Pictured above: (L to R) Jodie DeLoach – Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Danielle Hudzina – Assistant Principal, Tracey White – Principal, Keyla Hechavarria – Dean, and Asya Shine – Drug Free Coalition Coordinator. 

It was a tremendous pleasure for our TFP to partner with DFDC and support the DeSoto County School Board as they honored the young life of Camarena and made their decision to be drug free well known within the community. The teachers at Memorial Elementary School were rewarded with donuts and coffee for all their hard work and dedication to promoting Red Ribbon Week within our community. The winning class door of each grade level was also rewarded with a class pizza party. 

Thank you so much to every administrator, teacher, and student that helped make this week such a success! We look forward to seeing what you all come up with next year!

For more information on Red Ribbon Week, visit