11/23/07 — Students compete in anti-drug essay contest

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Students compete in anti-drug essay contest

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on November 23, 2007 1:57 PM

Wayne County students in grades 6-8 wrote more than 800 essays for the Red Ribbon Essay contest.

It was sponsored by Wayne County 4-H, Cooperative Extension Service and Eastpointe. The theme was "Why it's important to remain drug free."

Seven middle schools participated in the contest.

Winners from Eastern Wayne Middle School were Summer Woodard, first; Hannah Wiser, second; and Starla Strickland, third; sixth grade.

Aaliyah Ford, sixth grade, was the winner from Grantham School.

Winners from Goldsboro Intermediate School were Caleb Sasser, first; Chandler Evans, second; and Brian McCoy, third; sixth grade.

Norwayne Middle School winners included Myra Waheed, first, Jackson Yelverton, second, and Cierra Harris, third, sixth grade; Kayla Newsome, first, Breanna Bass, second, and Breanna Donnelly, third, seventh grade; and Nick Hilker, first, Katlyn Lancaster, second, and Cameron Taylor, third, eighth grade.

Winners from Rosewood Middle School were Brendan Trinidad, first; Abigale Godwin, second; and Nicole Radford, third.

Winners from Spring Creek School included Amanda Strickland, first, Sarah Hines, second, and Amber Edwards, third, seventh grade; and Candis Lane, first, James Lancaster, second, and Candy Pablo, third, eighth grade.

Red Ribbon Week is an annual event to commemorate the life of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique Camarena, who died at the hands of drug traffickers in Mexico in 1985. He had wanted to make a difference in the fight against drugs. To honor his memory, friends and neighbors donned red ribbons after his death. Others stepped up and formed coalitions to fight drugs and alcohol throughout the country.

Winners of this year's essay contest made excellent points in their essays as to why it's important to remain drug-free, said Barbara Byers, 4-H prevention program director.

As one of the winners, Nick Hilker, said in his, "The youth of this nation will, not maybe, create and decide our future."

Amanda Strickland wrote in her essay, "You lose the ability to make good and rational decisions" if you take drugs.

"You may say or do things to someone you care about that you would never say or do if you were not under the influence," wore Brendan Trinidad in his essay.

Adam McCullen stated that he "will work diligently on his goals of graduating from high school and college" instead of doing drugs.

And Kayla Newsome pointed out that "life is already hard. Why make it harder by taking drugs?"

Making a good point was Summer Woodard: "The people you love might not be a part of your life anymore because you picked up a cigarette or some kind of drug and got addicted to it."

Summing it all up was Caleb Sasser: "Saying no to drugs means you're saying yes to life."

Essays were judged on creativity, subject matter and mechanics.

Winners received trophies and gift cards for first, second and third places.

School guidance counselors coordinated the event at each school.

"The content of the winning essays was exceptional," said Ms. Byers. "Judges at each school had a hard time picking winners. I'm looking forward to even better essays next year."

Wayne County 4-H, Cooperative Extension Service and Eastpointe also distributed pencils that state "I'm drug-free" to all middle school students.

Grantham School and Tommy's Road Elementary students received Red Ribbon stickers and ribbons and saw a prevention skit titled "Rescue Squad -- Alert" to help them learn different ways to say no to drugs.

More information about Red Ribbon Week may be obtained at www.dea.gov/ongoing/redribbon02.html.

Parents may also visit www.theantidrug.com to learn more about talking to their children about drugs.