Gabriel Rivera, Baird Middle School 7th grader, was the winner of the National Family Partnership (NFP) 2016 Red Ribbon Week Photo contest for Region I/Home Decoration. The theme for this 6th annual contest was YOLO (You Only Live Once). Be Drug Free. In addition to receiving this amazing recognition Gabriel also earned $1,000 for Baird Middle School and an iPad for his family. Mrs. Deborah Casagrande, BMS Health Teacher and Project Purple Adviser explained, “The donation money will be used to purchase drug prevention and education materials to be used in the simulation stations during Red Ribbon Week.”
This is the 2nd time Gabriel has won this contest, first winning in 2013 when he was a 4th grade student at Veterans Park School. In addition, his younger sister, Giana won the contest last year when she was a 1st grader at East Street School.
According to their website, nationally, the contest named twenty winners, ten home entries and ten school entries, from various regions throughout the nation. The purpose of the contest is to involve families and schools in spreading the Red Ribbon Week message to educate children about the dangers of drug use. This year it was reported that hundreds of entries were received with over a quarter of a million votes casts for the winning entries.
National Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 and was started by the National Family Partnership in response to the abduction and murder of DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. Since its inception, the campaign has touched millions of lives to promote and celebrate drug free living. “An estimated 80 million people celebrate Red Ribbon Week each year,” said NFP President Peggy Sapp. “We designed the contest to bring the Red Ribbon message home and to give parents a chance to talk about the dangers of drug abuse. By receiving the same message at home, in school and in the community, children are significantly more likely to really hear and benefit from the prevention message.”
Front Row: Gabriel Rivera
Back Row: Mrs. Deborah Casagrande, BMS Health Teacher, Mrs. Jennifer Fafard (DEA and Ludlow CARES), and Mrs. Sandra Kozaczka (DEA)