Fun Activities Part of Serious Red Ribbon Week Events

Oct. 31, 2012 ~ Hundreds of balloons floated to the sky from Black Bob Elementary School on Oct. 26 as part of the school's Red Ribbon Week (drug awareness and prevention) activities. Balloons from previous years' launches have traveled as far as Iowa, Oklahoma and even Germany. Thanks to a cold northeast wind, this year's balloons headed toward Texas and New Mexico.

Each balloon is tied to a piece of paper with a drug-free message and the name of the person who released it at Black Bob, along with a way to contact the school when the balloon is found.

"Each year, we receive a number of phone calls and letters from people who are touched by our message," counselor Cheryl Craft said. "It seems that one balloon can touch and change the world one person at a time."

  • An Iowa farmer kept the balloon he found because it landed a day after his son was killed by a drunk driver. "He had kept the message in his tractor so he could see it every day and know that children are working to stop drug use," Craft said.
  • A man in Germany contacted Principal Barry Cook after finding her balloon. "He was very impressed by our efforts," Craft said.
  • Prisoners at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary watched as a balloon landed in their yard. "The warden sent a leather-bound certificate of commendation to the child whose balloon they found," Craft said. "He said 95 percent of the prisoners were incarcerated because of drug use. They had been profoundly impacted by receiving the balloon.
  • "A man and his son were walking in an Iowa field when a Black Bob balloon landed at their feet. "He was trying to talk his son out of continuing to take drugs," Craft said.

Red Ribbon events at Black Bob also included a yo-yo presentation, awards for the Red Ribbon poster contest, and a pie eating contest for students and staff. The special chorus sang three songs.

Red Ribbon Week began in the late 1980s to honor U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena who was tortured and slain in Mexico. Drug awareness and use prevention activities are planned in schools nationwide each year at the end of October.

The Black Bob Special Chorus performed three songs for the schoolwide assembly. Music teacher Kenn Woodward also led the student body as they sang along with the chorus more than once. Black Bob Special Chorus
Third- through fifth-graders had their names drawn for the chance to participate in the annual pie-eating contest. Their classmates cheered as the contestants’ faces disappeared into the small pie pans. Students enjoyed the pie-eating contest
Teachers proved they have what it takes to compete in a pie-eating contest. Music teacher Kenn Woodward leapt from his seat before some of his fellow teachers had finished eating. Music teacher Kenn Woodward finished his pie
A yo-yo performer with The N.E.D. Show talked with a student about the theme of his presentation: Never give up, Encourage others, Do your best. His presentation also included making a balloon crown and giving her a trick yo-yo to keep. A guest presenter made a balloon crown

The last activity of the morning was a balloon launch from the playground. Each student and staff member released a balloon with a tag identifying the balloon as coming from Black Bob Elementary. Anyone who finds a balloon (or just its tag) is encouraged to contact the school so they can see how far the balloons traveled this year.

Photos by Marlene Colgan
Students released balloons into the air