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Falcons Flock to Red Ribbon Week Chief Paul Memorial School


Students participate in Red Ribbon Week at the Kipnuk School last October. Above is Ms. Emily Scott's kindergarten class. From left are Dyane Pavila, Andy Slim, Peter Anaver, Harry Anaruk, Violet Toyukak, Mckinley Fox, Dollie Martin, Adele Weston, Andrew Paul, Michael Slim, and Jairus Ayaprun with their Red Ribbon tags. Photos courtesy of Tania Erickson-Grant

Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention program reaching millions of Americans during the last week of October every year. By wearing red ribbons and participating in community anti-drug events, young people pledge to live a drug-free life and pay tribute to DEA Special Agent Enriqué “Kiki” Camarena. (

October 23-30 was Red Ribbon week nationwide and the Kipnuk Falcons were onboard, with its student body of 205, Kindergarten-Twelfth graders, taking pledges and participating in activities.

With the sound of “Freedom” pumping out of the ACLs in the middle of the gym, the Master of Ceremony, Jami Whedbee, looked on, as the classes, K-12, filed in one after the other. They were there for an assembly on being drug, tobacco and alcohol free.

Throughout the week they had been working up to this moment. The message had been modified and made age appropriate throughout the week, but it retained its goal, to spread the drug, tobacco and alcohol free message. Now, the students were seeing their parents, guardians, caregivers, school staff, Advisory School Board members and community members there to cheer and support their efforts.

They had taken their pledges at the beginning of the week to be drug, tobacco and alcohol free; red wristbands encircled wrists large and small; pencils have been distributed; and dog tags hang around necks, coming to rest above hearts filled with pride at having made a choice to live a good and healthy tobacco and drug free life.

The volume of the music increased, students beamed with pride the celebration carried on for a while before everyone returned to their academics. As time passes, students are on a natural high and wearing their dog tags with pride.

Photos and article courtesy of Tania Erickson-Grant, Dean of Students/Administrative (Principal) Intern at the Chief Paul Memorial School, Kipnuk, AK.

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