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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Red Ribbon Week keeps Pendleton students drug free

By Cpl. Brianna Christensen | | October 30, 2013


Eagle Young Marines visited Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary school to speak about the importance of Red Ribbon Week Oct. 29.

Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation and reaches out to millions of Americans every October.

“We visited many of the schools on base over the last two weeks and talked to all grades about the dangers of drugs and alcohol,” said Patti Siegmann, the executive officer of Eagle Young Marines. “The younger children are when we expose them to the truth about drugs the less likely they are to do them when they are older.”

Mary Fay celebrated Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 23 to Oct. 30. Each day they had a theme such as “follow your dreams and not drugs,” where students wore their pajamas to school. The themes provide a fun way for students to remember what the week was about, according to Wendy Kerr, the assistant principal of Mary Fay.

“I didn’t want the students to think of this week as just tying red ribbons to a fence,” said Kerr. “We have gone around and asked the students what Red Ribbon Week is and all of them are able to describe it, even our five and six year olds; that is so impactful to me.”

During their visit the Eagle Young Marines went to each of the grades classrooms and held an assembly for grades six through eight where they watched videos and talked about the dangers of different drugs.

“I bring the Eagle Young Marines here because we are a drug-free organization,” said Siegmann. “We always talk to our young Marines about preventing drug use and bringing them to schools is a good way for them to share what they know and inform other students.”

After each presentation, the Eagle Young Marines gave each teacher a pledge sheet, which the students signed and promised to be drug-free.

“We had each class make red pinwheels for this week and put them on the lawn,” said Kerr. “I asked all of the students to think about what the week really meant to them as they were walking the pinwheels outside. To see all of the students silently thinking about what Red Ribbon Week means to them really encourages me. It shows me that they really are taking what they have learned seriously.”