Vic Routh stood before hundreds of students and pointed at real pictures of drug labs and addicts.
“One thing one time is all it takes,” he said. “Drugs start using you after awhile. If this is what they do to your face, imagine what they do to your insides – your liver and kidneys.”
The images immediately made an impression on students at Hunt Middle School.
“They were definitely gross,” said eighth grader Duncan James. “I think it was good to see some examples of what can happen to you if you use drugs. They can’t do anything good for you.”
Routh, a special agent with Drug Enforcement Administration, was invited to the school as part of Red Ribbon Week. The annual drug and violence prevention campaign encourages students to make healthy choices, set a good example and say no to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
“I want to challenge you,” said Routh, a 1982 graduate of Frisco High School. “You can do it. You can set goals. There is nothing you can’t do. I promise you.”
- Photo Gallery
Routh talked to students about positive role models, peer pressure and the potential impact of one bad decision. He told a story about an applicant for a job with the DEA who admitted to abusing prescription drugs during a polygraph test.
“He took one pill, one time to study in college and we can’t hire him,” Routh said. “He can’t be a DEA agent. He can’t be a FBI agent.”
The message resonated with students.
“I just learned that it’s really important to set goals for yourself,” said eighth grader Eden Bohanon. “One mistake can ruin your life.”
Similar events and activities were held across the District the week of October 22-26. Schools encouraged students to participate in themes inspired by Red Ribbon Week to show their support.
A presentation at the Student Opportunity Center a week earlier took somewhat of a different approach.
Will Richey and Alejandro Perez Jr. of Journeyman Ink used poetry, rhyme, music and dance to share personal challenges and struggles.
“We’re not here to preach to you today, we’re not here to tell you right from wrong, we’re here to tell you stories,” Richey told students.
Topics such as alcoholism, abandonment and other family issues seemed to connect with students.
“It’s the pain and fear you’re addicted to,” Perez said. “It’s the fear that holds you back. You mask it and pretend it’s not there.”
Poems and songs encouraged the audience to persevere.
“We forget that we’re not alone,” Perez said. “We can ask for help and when we do, we’ll be embraced by love.”
Students say they appreciated the unique format.
“I think it was really fun and unlike a lot of presentations,” said Senior Matthew Corvin. “They included the audience and connected with us.”
A Red Ribbon Week message students could relate to.
“Everything had to do with staying positive,” said Senior Coleman Moneta. “They showed that they are very confident and believe in themselves. It definitely affected me a lot.”
A Community Effort
- The Frisco Chamber of Commerce supported Red Ribbon Week by providing large red bows for the front doors of all FISD schools and buildings. Each building displayed the bow on their front door with a City Proclamation signed by Mayor Maher Maso. Billye Peery and her staff at Simply Blessed Flowers & Gifts, one of the business members of the Frisco Chamber, made the bows.