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Cherokee Elementary students dress up for drug-free week

Jennifer Sprouse • Oct 23, 2012 at 10:23 PM

While it’s not quite Halloween, kids at Cherokee Elementary School could trick any visitor to the school this week into thinking otherwise.

Little pirates roamed the halls of the school Tuesday, not to pillage or plunder their classmates or even make any of them walk the plank, but to show school spirit during Red Ribbon Week, a national movement in support of keeping kids drug free.

Mary Nell McIntyre, Cherokee’s principal, was adorned with her own pirate costume and eye patch in support of the school’s dress-up day.

“Every year, the last full week of October, we have drug-free week and it’s called Red Ribbon Week. It’s celebrated nationwide and so we have a dress-up day for each day of the week,” McIntyre said. “This year, we decided one of our dress up days would be “Arr you drug free?”

She said the pirate dress-up day stems from Cherokee’s year-long pirate theme for its reading program.

“We always try to come up with a fun theme that we can carry through the whole year,” McIntyre said. “That’s our ongoing reading theme all year. PTA is also using it as their membership theme — pirates, treasure.”

Penny Miller, the school’s counselor, said the entire week is meant to open up the discussion with kids about not doing drugs and providing them an outlet to discuss the issues of peer pressure and situational questions surrounding drugs.

“We talk to the kids about what they could do instead of using drugs, so during my guidance classes we talk about healthy choices that they can make and things that they can do instead,” Miller said. “It’s very important to remind them that even though drug use is prevalent in our nation that it’s important for them to find healthy ways to deal with stress, to resist peer pressure.”

She said the kids have plenty of opportunities to dress up.

- Monday — Red attire for Red Ribbon Week kickoff.

- Tuesday — Pirate Day.

- Today — Black attire for the black out drugs theme.

- Thursday — Team shirts for team up against drugs.

- Friday — Jean day for “I’m a jean-ious”

Third-grader Tripp Miller said he was enjoying the dress-up week so far.

“You get to see other people’s (costumes) and what they’ve come up with,” he said.

Penny Miller said so far parents, faculty, staff and students seemed to be getting into the dress-up week and she hoped the kids would take away life lessons amongst all of the fun.

“I tried to pick things that all the kids would have at home and it’s just a fun way to remind the kids to stay drug free, to put in a little education about why staying drug free is important and to celebrate Red Ribbon Week,” she said. “I hope that it’s ... a successful week and that the kids remember that they can talk to their parents, that they can talk to the adults here at school and that it’ll help prepare them for when they are faced that first time with a question about “Do I want to use drugs?”

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