Students say 'no' to drugs

Nearly every La Cañada High School student wore a red wristband this week that said, "I choose to be drug-free."

The wristbands were handed out to every LCHS student as part of Red Ribbon Week, which was organized by La Cañada High's Parent Teacher Student Association.

The Red Ribbon Campaign, a national event first adopted by the state PTA in 1986, calls parents, students and teachers to action and attempts to present a visible commitment towards the creation of a drug-free America.

All La Cañada Unified School District campuses participated in Red Ribbon Week, as each school site arranged a number of activities from Oct. 4 to 8, including essay and poster design contests, school assemblies and other visible reminders about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.

Nationally, the week falls on Oct. 25 to 29, but the event was moved up two weeks in La Cañada Unified so it could take place a week before La Cañada High's homecoming.

"We decided to move it up two weeks so it wouldn't get lost during homecoming and spirit week," said Hilary Gregg, LCHS 7/8 PTA Ribbon Week coordinator. "We just want to get the students thinking because for some of them, it may be the first time they're exposed to alcohol and we want them to realize they can say 'no.'"

School officials hope students will remember Red Ribbon Week messages when homecoming rolls around.

"We just want to make sure they don't drink and especially, if they do drink, not to drink and drive," said LCHS 9/12 Assistant Principal Joanne Davidson, who helped coordinate the week at LCHS. "We want all of our students to enjoy a safe homecoming."

The theme of Red Ribbon Week at La Cañada High was "Choice."

"Part of my goal is to educate [the kids] on what some of their options are in terms of dealing with these issues," said Anne Tryba, who coordinated the LCHS 9/12 PTA's Red Ribbon Week efforts.

Ricky Schroder, an actor known for his work on television shows such as "Scrubs," "NYPD Blue" and "24," and Steve Austin, an actor and one of the World Wresting Federation's most popular wrestlers of all time, accepted invitations to speak about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse at LCHS student assemblies this week.

"I just hope we are letting students realize there are people and resources out there to help them, and they realize they don't have to [use drugs or alcohol] to have a good time," Gregg said. "There are plenty of other ways to have fun without using alcohol or drugs."

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