October 29, 2017
By Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
DIAMOND BAR, CA— In an effort to inspire kids to live a drug-free life, Walnut Valley USD schools are participating in Red Ribbon Week.
Red Ribbon Week is a national alcohol and drug awareness campaign that teaches students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
At Maple Hill Elementary, students joined daily activities by dressing up in costumes with different slogans that remind them to stay drug free.
The days included wearing crazy socks to 'sock it to drugs’ and donning sunglasses to ‘shade out drugs.’
On Thursday, the school hosted ‘I’m drug free because this is what I want to be’ career day, with 13 parent volunteers visiting classrooms and speaking about their careers.
“Our students were also encouraged to dress up in what they want to be when they grow up,” said elementary learning specialist Kim McNeil.
“It’s a fun event full of information and hope for a drug-free future.”
Professionals shared their passion for their chosen careers during 20-minute presentations.
Parent Christine Song, a musician and teacher, offered a lesson in rhythm and in life as she directed a group of 4th graders.
“To get far, you need to put in a lot of effort, time, and discipline,” she said.
“Music is a wonderful thing. If you’re learning an instrument, keep doing it!”
“It’s fun and I enjoy my work,” said audiologist Lisa Lin while presenting to Lisa Peterson’s 3rd grade class.
“I work long hours and it’s very rewarding, boys and girls,” she said about her job that focuses on hearing and balance issues.
“It’s so amazing to see a small baby hear their parents’ voice for the first time,” Peterson said about videos that document the emotional first moments.
“It’s incredible what she can do to help people,” she told students.
Labor and delivery nurse Heather Dela Cruz spoke to the school’s youngest students about duties which include taking care of the mothers and monitoring the heartbeat of the babies.
“I had the cutest question!” she recalled. “One of the children asked, ‘what about twins?’”
The quick-thinking nurse then offered to let Makenzie Johnson and her twin brother, Bobby, listen to each other’s heartbeat with the stethoscope.
All across the campus, there were pint-sized astronauts and dancers and baseball players during the career day.
Second grader Logan Smith said he aspires to become an Army five-star general.
“If you’re a leader, you tell the troopers and the commanders what to do!” the seven-year-old said.
Another Red Ribbon Week activity included Reaching Hands cut-outs displayed outside every classroom.
Children chose future careers and wrote five things, one on each paper finger, that they would need to accomplish in order to achieve their goals, McNeil explained.
Alysia Morris noted that she would like to become a veterinarian, Erika Chen hopes to be a world-famous ballerina, while Austin Ro dreams of taking the stage as the world’s best actor.
The youngsters said they would be able to reach for their dreams by “staying healthy, never giving up, practicing, and staying drug-free.”
Sean Nguyen predicted that it would take “practice, exercise, trying hard, trying again, and never giving up,” to become an NFL all-star.
“I want to be a police officer too!” exclaimed first grader Toby Santiago, sporting a blue uniform, when he saw Walnut sheriff’s deputy Aaron Scheller outside his class.
Scheller spoke to the students, encouraging them to make positive life choices and avoid illegal drugs and alcohol.
The children also got a “close-up” tour of the patrol car during recess.
“Our whole job is to keep you and your parents and your friends safe,” he said.
Maple Hill Elementary students dressed up for career day Red Ribbon Week.
Transitional kindergarten twins Makenzie and Bobby Johnson listen to each other’s heartbeat with nurse Heather Dela Cruz.
Parent and audiologist Lisa Lin speaks to Maple Hill students during Red Ribbon Week career day.
Fourth graders get a music lesson from parent Christine Song during Red Ribbon Week career day.
Deputy Aaron Scheller speaks to Maple Hill Elementary students during Red Ribbon Week.
Deputy Aaron Scheller meets future officer Toby Santiago during career day at Maple Hill.
Maple Hill Elementary students ask real estate agent Richard Davila questions during career day.