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Anti-drug CLOWNS take to streets
November 04, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen Gering Junior High students made their way through downtown Gering last week as part of Red Ribbon Week. From left is Mackenzie McFarland, Anna Ossian and Madeline Wiese.

Just after 3 p.m. on Oct. 27, a large group of Gering Junior High students made their way through downtown to spread the word – they’ve pledged to stay away from drugs. The parade wrapped up Red Ribbon Week in the Gering schools.

Students wearing camo, clowns and decorations around the junior high building were just part of the fun as the Gering schools celebrated Red Ribbon Week with a pledge to be drug free.

Observed from Oct. 24 – 27, this year’s theme was “YOLO: You Only Live Once.” The junior high CLOWNS (Children Learning Other Ways Naturally) Drug-Free Team decorated the school with posters and ribbons and spread the message on social media about choosing a healthy lifestyle by staying away from drugs. They also took the message to the elementary schools.

“We had different themes each day of the week and announcements about staying drug-free” said group sponsor Crystal Palser. “The kids signed pledges on Monday about making smart choices and we had a door decorating contest.”

Potential students for the group are first recommended by their teachers, based on leadership qualities and grades. Members then sign a pledge to live above the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Palser said the program challenges the kids to do something important, beyond just attending school and getting good grades. The group provides an opportunity for kids that are always doing the right thing to get involved in the school and the community.

As the week started, students came to school Monday dressed in a red, white and blue for a patriotic theme of “Drug Free America.”

“Look to the Future” was Tuesday’s theme as students filed through the halls dressed in their favorite sports team attire. For Wednesday, the theme was “Drugs Can’t Find Me” and students wore camouflage.

The week wrapped up Thursday to the theme “Bulldogs are Drug Free” as students and faculty wore Gering Bulldog attire. That afternoon, they took the message through the downtown area.

Red Ribbon Week is observed nationally the last week of October since 1988. It’s a time for communities and individuals to take a stand for the hopes and dreams of children by committing to live drug free.

The week-long event, sponsored by the National Family Partnership, also commemorates the memory of Enrique Camarana, a Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent who was killed by drug traffickers in 1985.
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