Sixth-graders participate in Walk-Tober for Red Ribbon Week


Taking a short break from walking laps around the hallways, Seymour Middle School Sixth Grade students had an opportunity to make a big statement.

They picked up a piece of paper, signed their name pledging to say no to drugs and taped it on the wall.

They also could sign their name on a large red piece of paper that said "I pledge to say no" at the top.

School counselor Sam Browning said watching the school’s 400-plus students take that pledge was a big part of the Red Ribbon Week activities.

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"It means the world," she said. "This is what we are trying to educate them — to make a healthy choice, healthy lifestyle — and for them to say no to drugs, they are going to go far in life."

The school’s Walk-Tober event fit in with the national Red Ribbon Week theme of "Send a message. Stay drug-free." The week was observed Oct. 23 through 31 at schools around the country.

The theme is a call to action to speak out in support of healthy choices and also is a reminder that by staying drug-free, students are sending a message to themselves and others about how much they value themselves, their overall health, their community and their future, according to

Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s largest and oldest drug prevention campaign, reaching more than 80 million people each year, the website states.

Walk-Tober was one of the activities the Sixth Grade Center came up with to celebrate the week. It was supposed to be conducted outside Oct. 30 but was moved indoors because of the rainy weather.

"Each one of them has had a smile on their face, so that’s what today was about — rain or shine, just have a fun morning for them, get a little physical activity in and make them aware they are signing pledges," Browning said.

The event also served as a fundraiser, bringing in $3,019.57. That money will go toward student activities.

The top fundraiser was Dalton Lawyer, who collected $400. For every $50 a student raised, his or her name went into a drawing to win a new bicycle. The winner was Christopher Ginn.

Other Red Ribbon Week activities were themed dress days and educational videos in the classroom.

Sixth-grader Kylei Nichols said she made the most of the week and a half of fundraising for Walk-Tober.

"I went around the neighborhood and asked people if they would contribute money to our school and help with activities we’re doing, like this," she said.

She appreciated everyone who donated.

"It was very nice," she said.

Nichols liked walking the hallways for a good cause, listening to music and doing different types of exercises along the way.

"It’s fun when you don’t have classes with all of your other friends, you actually get to spend time with them," she said.

Sixth-grader Diego Aguilar said it was fun getting a mark on his face or arm every time he completed a lap.

"I liked hanging out with my friends, walking and making jokes," he said.

Taking the pledge to say no to drugs, however, was no joke.

"It makes me feel happy," he said of signing the pledge and seeing his classmates do the same.

"I’m glad everyone knows how important it is to not do drugs," Nichols added.

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