OLDTOWN — National Red Ribbon Week was established in honor of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency who was tortured and murdered by Mexican drug traffickers in 1985.
Camarena had a passion for children and their safety, so three years after his death, the National Family Partnership coordinated the first Red Ribbon Week. On Oct. 28, for the fifth year in a row, Priest River Lamanna High School students made their way to Idaho Hill Elementary to help the younger kids celebrate Red Ribbon Week. As the theme this year revolved around staying healthy, the five PRLHS teens talked to the kids about the healthy choices they make and why it is important to do so.
“I choose to be healthy because it allows me to play the sports I love,” said PRLHS freshman Jace Yount, who plays basketball and golf.
The other four high school students, sophomores Bowen Fegert, Everett Hannah, Erik Deem and Brad Sorensen, also said they play various sports, which encourages all of them to make healthy choices. Some of the main foods the teens listed were fruits, vegetables and protein. Deem, who attended Idaho Hill as an elementary student, said he is “weird” because he likes spinach, though many of the younger students piped up that they like spinach, too. Yount said he likes spinach as well, but said he mixes it into smoothies with berries and other fruits. While he doesn’t taste the spinach that way, he said, it adds a lot of nutrients.
Sorensen told the kids it is also important to drink lots of water.
Making healthy choices is not just about the food they eat, however. The teens also gave the youngsters some advice in how to balance their time between school, sports, friends, family and other activities. Hannah said he does school work any time he can to make sure his grades stay up, and Fegert said it is important to stay focused and “never stop caring.” The other teens agreed that maintaining balance is important, but keeping their grades up is a priority because it is required in sports. It is also important as they look to the future, as indicated by Yount who said he is looking forward to designing buildings and bridges someday.
While all the teens encouraged the students to do their homework and make healthy choices, Sorensen also said they should not worry too much at their age about the future.
“Take it one day at a time,” Sorensen said. “Don’t stress about tomorrow … take it slow, take it easy and enjoy it.”
Idaho Hill Elementary Principal Susie Luckey said they bring the high school students over each year because the younger students can relate to them and look up to them.
“We want our kids to be exposed to Priest River Lamanna High School and all that high school has to offer,” Luckey said. “Kids listen to high school students and love to be around them. It is also great to have alumni return and give back to our students.”
After the high school students finished speaking, each of the elementary kids were given a red ribbon. They made their way out to the school yard and, with the help of the teens, tied the ribbons to the fence as a symbol of their dedication to making healthy choices.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.