To steer our community toward healthy behaviors, the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club’s Red Ribbon Committee is focusing its efforts on preventing young people from slipping into the devastating grip of drug misuse and addiction. National Red Ribbon Week is a program originated by the National Family Partnership (formerly the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth). Thornton Academy's Red Ribbon Week activities, sponsored by the Rotary, will take place during the week of April 24-28. The program will include daily activities for students that are oriented toward encouraging healthy behaviors, specifically education about the potential for harm brought about by the use of illegal drugs and other substances.
“Our goal is to serve as a catalyst to mobilize communities, educate youth, and encourage participation in drug prevention activities,” stated Red Ribbon Committee Co-Chair, Rotarian, and Thornton Academy alum Jim Godbout. “We all recognize drug misuse is at epidemic proportions in our country. It costs our country billions of dollars each year through tax dollars, so we are all affected directly or indirectly. I applaud the schools for working collaboratively together and with our Rotary Club, and I invite everyone to join us in a culture of change from acceptance of drug misuse in its many forms to all community members living lives of health, wellbeing, and joy.”
Below is a summary of Red Ribbon Week activities:
All week at Thornton Academy Middle School: Age and stage-appropriate education/prevention activities will be held during the daily advisory program for all middle school students.
Monday, 4/24: Red Ribbon Week will be introduced at school meeting. The TA Players will assist by presenting a brief original video that depicts the possible consequences of poor decision making.
Date TBD: There will be a “distracted driving” simulator activity for upper school students. Wellness students, as well as those who are interested and have a study hall, may participate. Students who are licensed for driving will have the supervised opportunity to drive a golf cart on a course while wearing goggles that simulate impaired driving. Unlicensed students can participate via a simulation on a computer console.
Wednesday, 4/26 (Please note, due to weather, this event has been postponed to June 7): An abbreviated schedule will be held so as to devote the last hour of the day to addressing students’ wellbeing, both physical and mental. An online survey will allow students to choose among a variety of “Get Active” activities (such as ballroom dancing, yoga, dodgeball, healthy cooking, softball, street funk dance, and improv). The entire upper school will gather in the Quad at the end of the day for a final celebration.
• During the school day: Bob Lapete has lived with a brain injury for 32 years, the results of a drunk driving accident. He will speak with seniors about his life, and about making good choices and the possible consequences of poor ones. This program is for seniors only.
• In the evening: Parents and community members are invited to a program in Garland Auditorium, starting at 6:30 PM, to hear several speakers from area agencies discuss trends in drug use and its effects, and the potential for effective community response. An opportunity for Q & A will follow the presentation. Bronwyn Barnett and the students in the Toastmasters Club from the Community Bicycle Center will speak about making healthy choices; Bill Paterson of Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition’s Project Alliance will speak on Marijuana and the Adolescent Brain; Ryan Esbjerg of Flex Your Face University will speak on their unending goal to ignite people's lives through the celebration of small moments in their day; and the top three student t-shirt design winners will be presented with their cash prize awards. Thornton Academy student Ann Ho '18 won first and second place; Thornton Academy student Tobias Pydych '19 won third place. The contest was open to students from Thornton Academy, Biddeford, and Old Orchard Beach.
Friday, 4/28: A group of teens from York High School have formed a group called TIDALWAVSE (“Teens In Drug Awareness Leading Working and Valuing Self-Esteem”). As chemical free ambassadors for their community, these young people participate in many anti-drug initiatives. They will talk with our freshmen and sophomores to promote healthy choices and to share the power of student advocacy.
Please note: Any parent who wishes to “opt out” their student from participating may contact Ms. Truman in the Associate Head’s office (282-3361, ext. 4404). Students who opt out will attend their regularly scheduled classes.
The issues addressed during Red Ribbon Week are among the most difficult we face as educators and parents. We appreciate the interest in community wellbeing shown by Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club through this program, and value their willingness to provide the resources that will support such meaningful experiences for our students. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Wellness Department Chair Christopher Kohl (282-3361, ext. 8153). The Red Ribbon Committee includes the following Thornton Academy faculty and staff: Keil Martin, Matt Regan, Carol Labonte, Margaret Cumbie, Matt Roberts, Ari Hadiaris, Kirk Agreste, Caryn Lasante, and Mary Ann Martin.
About Thornton Academy
Thornton Academy, founded in 1811, is a co-educational, private boarding and day school serving grades 6 through 12. Located in the city of Saco, it is one of the nation's longest operating independent schools and one of only four Apple Distinguished Schools in Maine. The Academy offers a diverse academic curriculum including more than 200 courses, a new $2 million STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) Center, an award-winning visual and performing arts program, competitive athletics including 24 different sports teams, and wide selection of extracurricular activities. For more information, visit www.thorntonacademy.org.
About Rotary Club of Biddeford-Saco
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 160 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 33,000 Rotary clubs. Their main objective is service–in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers and other professionals, and vocational and career development. To learn more about Rotary, visit www.biddeford-sacorotary.org.
Media Contact: Emma Deans, Thornton Academy Communications Associate firstname.lastname@example.org (207) 602-4449