Rialto Schools Go All Out With Red Ribbon Pride

We got a chance to ride along in a plain white van with judges and dignitaries as Local Rialto Schools vied for a chance to place in the top three in their region (North, Central & South) to show off their school spirit and celebrate the benefits of living a drug free life. We rode in the Southern Region van this year and had the pleasure of joining Rialto Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtemoc Avila, Board President Dina Walker, Director of Communications Syeda Jafri, Police Lt. Dean Hardin and Rialto Unified School District Security Chief Leary who drove us around.

Carter High School students greet the judging vehicles with cheers – Photo Provided by Rialto USD

Dr. Avila stated, “I echo our Board of Education’s sentiments that participating in this annual drug-free contest makes all our students, staff and parent-volunteers winners, but to keep the contest fair, I wanted make sure that each of the schools; the north, central and south sections, had their own sets of scoring. Again, the feedback from the judges was positive, and reinforces my faith that great things continue to happen at our schools. It was another proud moment to show the community that our schools have their focus on safety and promoting a drug-free lifestyle for our students.”

Each year has a Nationwide theme and this year the theme is “Your future is key, so stay drug free”. Each school that we saw that participated really took the theme and turned it into a visual representation of the overall message. Some schools really went all out which included a miniature version of District Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtemoc Avila (Garcia Elementary) a life size game of Life (Jehue Middle) or even tombstones of celebrities who died from drug and alcohol abuse (Milor High).

Some schools like Simpson Elementary you could see from a mile away and they made sure to get the judges out of the van and on their feet as they danced the Drug Free theme. Rialto Unified is one of the few school districts that has such a strong level of participation because of the importance that the District puts behind the annual event.

First place winners, Hughbanks Elementary School – Photo Provided by Rialto USD

“For years, Red Ribbon Week, here in Rialto, has become a pretty big deal, and that’s great,” said Rialto Police Lieutenant, Dean Hardin. “It was a fantastic commemoration and I was proud of the way that our students, led by staff and parents, participated. Drug use is a real issue, a serious issue for the younger generation and along with addiction, it can lead to anti-social behavior and lack of focus on education. The Police Department was happy to participate and we thank the District for making sure students understand the dangers of substance abuse.” As the South judging van pulled away from Simpson Elementary Lt Dean Hardin could be heard saying out the van window “Be Drug Free” and each time he said it the whole school repeated the mantra.

Schools earned points from 1 to 10 based on creativity, visibility and message. Judges were warned against giving out 10’s too freely as to help district officials from having to deal with tons of tie’s in the point totals. The Red Ribbon Decorating Contest ended in three-way ties for all three places — first, second and third — as well as a “Spirit” award initiated by Dr. Avila. Prize money is $1,000 for first; $750 for second; and $500 for third. The new “Spirit” award is also $500. Cash awards go to each school and are discretionary for each school.

The winning schools are:

1st Place Winners

Northern: Hughbanks Elementary School – $1,000

Central: Casey Elementary School – $1,000

Southern: Garcia Elementary School – $1,000

2nd Place Winners

Northern: Carter High School – $750

Central: Henry Elementary School – $750

Southern: Jehue Middle School – $750

3rd Place Winners

Northern: Kolb Middle & Kordyak Elementary Schools – $500

Central: Bemis Elementary School– $500 

Southern: Kelley & Simpson Elementary Schools– $500

Honorable Mentions

Milor High School – $250

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Don’t Go There Substance Abuse Prevention Program Comes To Eisenhower Highschool.

This week the people that make up your Rialto Community Coalition Rialto Police Department are coming together to bring you a public forum tackling the problem of drug and alcohol use and abuse among teens especially during prom and graduation season which is kicking off in full gear this April. Here are some facts that show our teens are under attack of further danger:

  1. More teens die from prescription drugs than heroin/cocaine combined.
  2. In 2013, more high school seniours regularly used marijuana than cigarettes as 22.7 percent smoked pot in the last month, compared to 16.3 percent who smoked cigarettes.
  3. 60 percent of seniors don’t see regular marijana use as harmful, but THC (the active ingredient in the drug that causes addiction) is nearly five times stronger than it was 20 years ago.
  4. One-third of teenagers who live in states with medical marijuana laws get their pot from other people’s prescriptions.
  5. By the 8th grade, 28 percent of adolescents have consumed alcohol, 15 percent have smoked cigarettes, and 16.5 percent have used marijuana.

These are just a few of the staggering statistics on drug and alcohol use in our schools. Talking with the members of the Rialto Community Coalition I found out why it was so important for them to hold this event. David Phillips said “when we were working on the issue of synthetic drugs we found out that education was the missing component. Education on all three sides of the equation the youth who thought these were safe forms of drug use (because they were sold over the counter). Parents who had no idea their kids had harmful drugs right before them (because of their colorful packaging and being sold over the counter). Finally our teachers with a combination of packed out classrooms and a lack of education on the issue  with the false information that these drugs were legal leaving educators with a sense of helplessness.

So what the Coalition decided was to hold a 3 hour public forum mainly consisting of three components.

  1. A Vendor Resource zone where parents, educators and youth can get additional resources or help with what they already are dealing with or my deal with in the future.
  2. Key Note speaker Ray Lozano from Prevention Plus to speak to the teens at their level on these dangers and why they should avoid them at all costs. Ray said Continuous effort, strength and intelligence are the key for a young person to reach their full potential. When they start using marijuana, not only do those qualities vanish, but their uniqueness is lost and they become generic.
  3. A Q&A Panel where attendees can ask questions and get answers from people that know and are part of the solution.

Laniea Dominguez of comedy for causes is going to MC this event when we asked her why she is getting involved she said this “I lost my mom to drugs & alcohol and wanted to give my children a better memory of me. I wanted to be part of this event to remind teens that life has sooo much to offer & it’s up to them to chose to live it or lose it.

The event is this Friday April 4th from 5-8 pm and will include a visit from Diana Wehbe & the 99.1 KGGI Radio Street team, Rialto Police Department will have its under the influence simulator for people to experience the varied levels of how it feels to be under the influence. This all goes down at Eisenhower High School in the Gym at 1321 N Lilac Rialto, Ca 92376.

For more information contact Michael Townsend on the flyer or visit their Facebook event posting at the link below.

Statics above came from this website https://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-shocking-facts-about-teens-and-drug-use

Any and all media are free to use the content here for free please notify the Media Relations person David Phillips at 909-534-9558 or Davidsmarketing@aol.com