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Pine Level Elementary holds Red Ribbon Week parade

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PINE LEVEL — Rain didn’t stop Pine Level Elementary School from holding its annual anti-drug Red Ribbon Week parade at the school Oct. 26.

Instead of postponing or canceling the parade, organizers moved everything indoors with students marching around inside the school gym, down the hallways and through the cafeteria to the delight of family members and other guests who cheered the youngsters along while taking lots of photos.

The parade is a culmination of Red Ribbon Week, the nation’s oldest and largest drug and violence prevention campaign. It’s observed during the last week of October at schools throughout the United States.

Students walked separately and in groups along the parade route with each group led by children carrying banners. Some students pulled shoebox floats they had made.

Music was provided by members of North Johnston High School marching band dressed in bright red uniforms who performed lively tunes from the gym stage while students marched past them below.

Among the messages displayed on posters and banners were “Say boo to drugs,” “Don’t be tricked, drugs are not a treat,” “Drugs make you batty,” “We are stomping out drugs” and “First grade is too bright for drugs.”

Many students, along with faculty members and school Principal Allen Sasser, wore anti-drug ribbons and some students waved small individual flags while most groups chanted anti-drug slogans while they walked.

Although the movement began in 1985, this was only the sixth time Pine Level Elementary has held a Red Ribbon Week event.

“Pine Level Elementary encourages community participation in the parade to help create unity and spread the anti-drug message throughout town,” said Abby Stephenson, event organizer and school guidance counselor.

Stephenson said a lemonade stand sponsored by Secret Agents of Kindness served lemonade during the parade with all proceeds going to Samaritans Purse for hurricane disaster relief.

“I am so pleased with the effort given by students and staff to make the Red Ribbon Day parade not just a success, but memorable for the Pine Level community,” said Stephenson.