The initiative began when drug traffickers in Mexico City murdered DEA agent Kiki Camarena in 1985. But for many local students, participating in the annual Red Ribbon Essay Contest is about much more than sharing a history lesson.
Many of the students sharing their essays at Three Oaks Middle School on Thursday morning made it clear that the issue of drugs is a personal matter.
Several essays shared during the program revealed students who have lost family members to a drug-induced lifestyle. Children left behind to deal with the devastation of a broken life. Picking up the pieces left by a person who was supposed to care for them. Families torn apart by an all-consuming addiction.
"When you hear the heart of children and they are begging for people to stay off of drugs, that says something," said Dyer County Schools counselor Martha Davidson at the conclusion of the program.
Sponsored by the Dyer County Sheriff's Department, the essay contest is conducted as an annual event in the Dyer County School System. This year's theme was "Say 'Peace Out!' to drugs!"
Dyer County students earning awards in the 2012 Red Ribbon Essay Contest include:
* First Place -- Taylor Dunlap of Trimble Elementary School
* Second Place -- Emery Bevis of Holice Powell Elementary School
* Third Place -- Caroline Gentry of Fifth Consolidated Elementary School
* First Place -- Jordan Ford of Fifth Consolidated Elementary School
* Second Place -- Kiyana Taylor of Newbern Elementary School
* Third Place -- Emma Robbins of Holice Powell Elementary School
* First Place -- Caitlynn Kirk of Northview Middle School
* Second Place -- Jack Goostree of Three Oaks Middle School
* Third Place -- Hannah Owsley of Northview Middle School
* First Place -- Kaylee Rogers of Three Oaks Middle School
* Second Place -- Celeste Canada of Northview Middle School
* Third Place -- Zion Lafferty of Three Oaks Middle School
* First Place -- Lindsay Maupin of Three Oaks Middle School
* Second Place -- Victoria Travis of Northview Middle School
* Third Place -- Cheyanne Harber of Three Oaks Middle School
Three Oaks students served as hosts for the event, with family members, community leaders, and the faculty and staff of Three Oaks, Trimble and Fifth Consolidated attending the event.