Red Ribbon Week at South Range ends with healthy doses of dance

By Ashley Luthern


Wearing cowboY hats, plaid button-up shirts and boots, South Range Elementary students stomped and stepped Friday to the tunes of country music during the annual Harvest Day.

Fourth grader Nataley Kemmer was among the dancers dressed in Western attire; students also had the option of wearing school-appropriate costumes.

“I think the dances went good, and we had programs this week about saying no to drugs,” Nataley said.

The Harvest Day celebration culminated Red Ribbon Week for South Range Elementary students, and parents packed the gym bleachers Friday to watch grades kindergarten through four perform Western-themed dances.

The nationwide Red Ribbon Week aims to encourage students to make healthy choices and to learn the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol and tobacco, said Kim Hvizdos, elementary guidance counselor.

Each day had a different message from “I Elect to Show Respect,” an anti-bullying program during which students wore patriotic colors, to “Hats Off to Leaders,” a program about role models when students donned their favorite hat.

“For our younger students, we also talked about healthy choices for food and exercise, too,” she said.

Third-grader Andrei Pagmotta was one of the winners of a Red Ribbon Week poster contest. His entry featured the slogans “Vote Yes on Issue You” and “Take a stand, lend a hand”

“I was looking in the paper, and it said vote yes on an issue so I wanted to make [my poster] so people were voting to be drug free,” Andrei said.

For several weeks, elementary students had combined music and physical education classes to learn the Harvest Day steps.

Fourth-graders Joshua Marino and Alex Kuzior were able to dance even in their costumes. Joshua was a banana — “Yellow is my favorite color,” he said — and Alex wore a black wizard’s robe and glasses as fictional teen wizard Harry Potter.

Gym teacher Meagan Murray said the dances were part of the healthy message of Red Ribbon Week.

“With the ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’ song, they jumped around for three minutes and 20 seconds, and that’s three minutes and 20 seconds of sweating,” Murray said.

“They don’t know how much they’re exercising. That’s equivalent to them running about half of a mile.”

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