STARS members take action for drug prevention; Spreading awareness during Red Ribbon Week

Kierstyn McManus, Reporter

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     On the week of October 23-31, STARS members gathered for Red Ribbon Week, which is an annual event held to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.

     STARS, a club designed for students to take a responsible stand towards anti-drug-use.  It is designed to “promote how drugs are bad in ways that students would actually listen instead of not taking it seriously,” states Caitlyn Allen, a junior member.

Sophomores Grant Maxa and Colin Smith oversee running the club, planning and carrying out events with the help of teacher Mrs. Lorie Rake, who “expects them to be drug and alcohol free and set a good example for students around them.”

     Allen explains that instead of just giving kids ribbons like previous years, this year, the club “gave out lollipops and squishy stars to try to do more things that people will actually enjoy and get the message out at the same time.”

     Additionally, the club held a “trivia contest, made posters, and wore red on Monday of that week,” Rake says, who “wants to expand ideas even more next year.”

     According to Smith, the club gathers in meeting held each month, discussing ideas for what projects they can tackle for the quarter. 

     Besides Red Ribbon Week, members plan to take on more events, such as “ghost day,” ran by Maxa, and a team-up with the Journalism and yearbook staff about spreading kindness, along with “more meetings to refocus on our December plans,” Rake states.

     Smith explains “ghost day” as an event held in previous years, where “everybody wears a black shirt in honor of the people that have overdosed, along with somebody faking a death from drugs.” Smith expresses the club is still working on ideas for the event.

     “I originally joined STARS because I’m against vaping and all that, and I wanted to spread the awareness of how bad it actually affects people,” Allen expresses. “But it’s more than just vaping, so many people are killed from all different kinds of drugs.”

     According to Smith, Red Ribbon Week was planned out during a meeting, where there was “a sign-up sheet to go to the lunches and hand out lollipops and stars,” and students volunteered to participate in the activity, which “went really well,” Rake adds. “A lot of people got involved and I felt we had a strong presence.”

     Allen collaborated with an outside source, junior Kendall Schubert, to think of some ideas for further down the year. “We were thinking we could have paper bags, each representing an overdose that’s happened, and if there was someone who died, we would put a specific name on it to make it personal, eventually filling an entire wall.” 

     In hopes for people to have a wake-up call on how common and often drug overdoses occur, Smith plans to continue co-running the club, who “wants to be more organized this year… But we plan on doing more things throughout this year.”