2013 Red Ribbon Week Essay Contest Winners

In celebration of Red Ribbon Week, the Partners for a Drug-Free Milford Miami Township sponsored a 2013 Red Ribbon Week Drug-Free Essay contest for students in grades 5 through 12 who attended Milford Schools.  This year’s Red Ribbon Week theme was “A Healthy Me Is Drug-Free.”  One winner was selected from each grade, with the exception of 7th grade.  All winners received a $50 gift card to Walmart and names of the winners will appear in the Milford Miami Advertiser.  The winning essays will be on the coalition’s website and facebook page.

Contestants in grades 5 through 6 wrote about the theme “A Healthy Me Is Drug-Free.”  Contestants submitted an original written essay that addressed making smart choices about not using drugs and why they will try to discourage others from using drugs.

Contestants in grades 7 through 12 wrote about how and why they choose to live a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.  Contestants submitted an original written essay that addressed the negative effects that drugs have had on friends, family, or the community and how and why they choose to live drug-free.

If you have any questions, please contact Stacy Mathis at 513-576-2267 or mathis_s@milfordschools.org.

12th Grade Winner – Brittney Lovdal, Milford High School

Remaining drug-free as a high school senior in 2013 is not easy, and while I may be sacrificing some things I have learned that in the end it is worth it. I am sure we are all aware that Milford does not offer much for teens to do on a Saturday night, and the “go to” activity is for a group of friends to gather around and get high or drunk together. I have never participated in this, I want more for my life than that. I do not want to waste my potential. Drugs have taken over, it is what the majority of the conversations in the hallway are about. It is so common that students are even upfront about it to their teachers and parents. It has become a social norm, and people just do not even blink twice when they hear about it. Although it has become somewhat accepted in our community it still has negative consequences. The one’s that influenced myself the most are how it would affect my relationship with my parents. Also how it would affect my grades. I have looked forward to college since forever and many teenagers forget about how drugs will dumb them down and make them forget about the importance of school.

However, staying drug-free has been an obstacle for me. I have sat back and lost friends because I was too lame for them once they turned to the life of partying. I have even had to distance myself from my half sister and mother because I knew that the lifestyle they lived were a bad influence on me. I did not want to go through high school thinking getting high or drunk every night was normal. Instead I have had to find other ways to spend my time; for me working is the best way to forget about the “high school experience” that I am missing out on.

I have made sacrifices in high school to remain drug free, however it has already helped me accomplish so much and I know that remaining clean will be a huge step towards reaching a better future me.

11th Grade Winner – Sam Plante, Milford High School

Escape Routes to Nowhere

Ever since we were little kids listening to our elementary teachers telling us that drugs are a bad thing, we have known that drugs can have an extremely negative effect on the life and well being of ourselves and those around us. Up until high school, I thought this whole ordeal of drugs was more of a rumor. A stereotype. A thing seem in eighties movies that became extinct with the use of proper education and reason. Little did I know that I was dreadfully wrong. No matter how educated we as people may be on the negative effects on drugs, the reasons for starting are still there. Life is still harder for some of us then it seems to be for everyone else and it is still hard to learn to deal with the ever changing life and fast pace of modern society. This is what draws teens to try the first cigarette, the first shot, the first pill. After those first few tries, it’s the addiction that keeps teens coming back into their adulthood. The unfortunate reality is, the teenagers who involve themselves with drugs and alcohol lose much more than the teen angst they are attempting to extinguish.

I grew up with a great group of girls. Their once bright and curious expressions have been glazed over with the overwhelming sense of exhaustion and doused with heavy perfume to cover the underlying smoke and booze. I will not let this happen to me. I will not let this happen to me because I still manage to love them. They are good kids who got caught in a bad trade. Instead of learning to deal with misfortune, the teenagers in which worry us most make decisions to try to escape. Solutions need to be found instead of this escape route to nowhere. It’s a tragedy. High school has surely changed who I am. The biggest impacts on me are my interactions with those I don’t know. Just the other day, I had to find a teacher to break up a fight in the hallway between two boys who I knew had stoner reputations. When I brought it up with a friend, he said, “Who really cares? They are just stoners anyways.” My heart sank. That sounds cliché, but when humans are finding new ways to look down upon other humans, I don’t want to be a part of that society anymore. I chose not to do drugs because I don’t want to let it affect the people around me. How am I supposed to help people when I can’t help myself? I can’t. This is why I can’t do drugs. I can’t be an influence that leads other people to seeing it as a way out. That is how I could ruin someone’s life. If I ever did drugs, I could ruin my parents lives, my friends’ lives, my sisters’ lives, and most obviously my own life: and I know that I just couldn’t live with that.

10th Grade Winner – Erica Arnold, Milford High School

Why I Live Drug-Free

I live a Drug-Free Life because of the experience I went through in life with my family. My mom was an Alcoholic, when she drank she became violent towards her kids. She had gone to jail three times for abusing her kids. Then the court and CPS threaten to take us away from her if she were to hit us again. She stopped drinking and started going to counseling and Alcohol Anonymous meetings every evening. She made friends that supported her and helped her get through her regular drinking lifestyle. She’s been sober now for 9 years. The memories still have stuck with me to this day. My mother and I aren’t as close as we used to be. Because I have yet to forgive her, we fight every day, causing a negative environment for not only my mother and I, but my siblings and father as well. I choose not to drink because I’m afraid I’ll act out like she did and become a failure in life.

Another example for being Drug-Free is that my mother also smoked Marijuana. She became very moody and violent. This also had a negative impact on my father because she started seeing other guys. My parents split up multiple times causing a break down in the family. We all cried because we thought we weren’t going have a father or mother figure in our lives anymore. We were also afraid we would have to live on the streets and fight to have clothes on our backs and to be fed. After the horrible experience, my parents got back to get together; my mom started attending more meetings to get more help with her drug abuse. It helped a lot. Because my mother chose to do drugs, she messed career up for a while, she had worked at McDonald’s for years, causing us kids to be stuck inside until my father came home. When my mom quit and got the money saved up, she applied for college. Now she goes to UC Clermont studying phycology to become a social worker. By the end of 2016 my mom would have obtained her bachelor’s degree.

My family may have gone through rough times in life, but through it all, we all stayed strong and became a family again. We’re still going to have our arguments, but its family. We love each other through any negative situation. I’m proud of my mom and who she has become today. I’m thankful that she made time in her life to get help, keep her kids safe, and go back to school to help her family’s needs.

9th Grade Winner – Olivia Kalton, Milford High School

I have chosen to live a drug free life, not because adults have told me it’s bad for you. Or because they tell me that it will kill me and show me the effects of drugs. I have decided to live drug-free for one reason and one reason only. It has destroyed my family. This essay will not even touch a portion of how drugs have affected my life, my sister, my cousins, and especially the adults in my family that have chosen drugs over us. I’m about to introduce you to the monster that lived inside my life for so many years.

My mom, my dad, and my aunt have been active drug users for most of my life. For a long time it was manageable, so I am going to skip to the past year for sake of time. Let’s start with my dad. He is in prison for 4 years. He was shooting up heroin while driving and wrecked. He put this lady in a wheel chair for the rest of her life. He has been there for a year now. Three more years with no dad and well my mom is not doing much better. Well she has been living under a bridge in Cincinnati since May of this year. Why you ask well because heroin has a tight hold on her. She would rather be on the streets so she can shoot heroin every day, because she says she is scared. To be sober, or what I don’t understand, why? Lastly, my aunt, she has lost custody of all her children, in and out of jail, and I have lost count of how many times my cousins have changed school, it is pathetic at least once a year.

So my sister and I have had a hard life. My cousins have had it rough. My grandparents that are now raising us have had it just as bad. Some of the stories that I could tell you, would make you cry. But we had to live it. We had to live with crack pipes, needles, meth, heroin, strangers in our home, and not knowing what going to happen next. I mean if I am going to be honest I raised my sister, I’m 14. All the drugs in my life have caused me to emotional unstable. I can’t get close to anyone and have trust issues. And it’s not just me with these issues. Everyone that has been touched with this demon that lives in our lives has been scared.

So now that you know a portion of my story, I tell you I want to live a drug free life because I deserve more in life than what I have been given. I want to be someone someday. And an addict is not what I want my life to be defined as. I believe that seeing addiction first hand has gave me a better opportunity to live a free and sober life.

8th Grade Winner – Helly Patel, Milford Junior High School

Why I Live Drug Free

There are many reasons as to why I live drug free. You become a good role model to follow, your self-esteem is higher, and you have better relationships with your family and friends. You also are more aware of what you are capable of, you are more focused on reaching your goal/dream, and you become a much more happier person in life. But if a person does drugs, there is a good amount of negatives that can happen to that person.

When a person does cannabis, they will feel paranoid and might get asthma. When a person does cocaine, they will become much more awake/alert and could possibly die from it. When a person does ecstasy, they will feel energetic and will have memory problems. When a person does speed, they will feel aggressive and it can be dangerous for the heart. When a person does mephedrone, they will feel awake and can lead to hallucinations. As you can see, drugs are very unhealthy but when somebody that is close to you that does drugs, that can ruin your relationship with that person. When a friend does drugs, they could offer it to you and could you could give into peer pressure, resulting in ruining your health and ending your friendship. When a parent does drugs, you could start doing it too because a child looks up to their parents and the child could get influenced by them. When a neighbor or another member of your community does drugs, that whole society could be under influence because of that one person who decides to make bad decisions.

To avoid these kinds of people, I practiced avoiding the situation, if avoiding the situation is not an option…then to change the subject of the topic that we are talking about, and finally, I practiced standing up for myself and saying no against peer pressure. People who lack of self confidence need to start practicing like I did because it really boosted my self confidence and I learned to not give up on peer pressure. Drugs are really unhealthy for your body and I hope that one day, they will be gone forever.

8th Grade Winner – Brian Wang, Milford Junior High School

The Best Me Is Drug Free

Many people around the globe suffer from drug abuse everyday. Drug addiction can cause cancer, damage to the central nervous system, create an abnormal heart which can result in death, and much more. The nation spends over 600 billion dollars per year due to crime, lost work, and health care that is related to drug abuse. A 2010 research showed that there were about 21 million illegal drug users. About half of the users had full-time jobs, but research showed that the unemployed use rate was higher.

I, Brian Wang prefer to live a healthy, drug free life because I have learned in the past years what drug abuse can cause over a period of time. I have also learned the right choices to make when someone offers you a drug or simply a cigarette. In class, we do scenarios to prepare for the day when someone offers you a drug and we must be prepared to have a quick reflex to refuse or change the subject. I must be prepared because a 2010 research showed that the main age group for drug users were 16-20. Since I know what drugs can do to us, I live a drug-free life by staying away from people that use drugs. I simply just leave the area where people are smoking just as a precaution.

Over time, I found out that three of my uncles and my grandfather smoked. My father’s older brother had died due to over-smoking which caused him to get nose cancer from the smoke coming out of his nose when he smoked.. My other two uncles currently still smoke even after we warn them about the after effects of smoking, they won’t stop, but they have managed to reduce their smoking breaks. Finally, my grandfather has the worst case right now. He will buy packs of cigarettes every chance he gets. My grandfather’s worst problem is when he is angry, he will go outside and smoke. I am glad that my elders who smoke choose to smoke outside to prevent from affecting us. As I go around our community, I see people smoking, but the best thing we can do is to educate children earlier to prevent them from being affected by the choices of others.

A 2012 Marlboro state package price found the range $4.96-$14.50 per pack. The average price was $6.98. If a person smokes a pack of cigarettes per week, they will spend $400 or more a year. If this much money was saved per year, people could buy something they wanted instead of healthcare fees because they chose to smoke or use drugs. I know what to do when drugs are offered to me in life, why I should prevent myself from using drugs, and I try my best to discourage users to continue. Overall, I am glad that I have chosen to live a healthy, drug-free life and have tried to stop surrounding drug users.

6th Grade Winner – William Nagel, Meadowview Elementary School

A Healthy Me Is Drug Free

A drug is any substance that changes the way your mind and body function. Making smart choices about doing drugs can help you because drugs hurt your body. The reason people shouldn’t do drugs is because drugs are addicting and can kill you. Drugs destroy peoples lives. People can change from a good person to a criminal because they need money to buy drugs.

Medicines prescribed by doctors can become addictive if they are taken in the wrong amounts. An overdose of prescription medicine can make a person more ill or even cause death. Illegal drugs are so dangerous that I don’t know why anyone would start using them. Some reasons people do drugs are because their friends do it, they want to feel grown up, or to get away from their problems.

The reason I would not do drugs is because I want to keep my mind strong and alert. I want to play sports, do well in school, and live a healthy life. I would not be successful at any of these things if I did drugs.

If my friends were using drugs or drinking I would tell them to stop then if they didn’t I would tell my parents or their parents. If they still didn’t stop I would find new friends. People that do drugs or drink don’t want to do the same things that normal adults or kids would like to do. When you get older and want a job you wouldn’t be able to hold a job and would constantly need money to buy drugs. When I am still in school, I want to be in a mowing business and when I am older I want to a professional baseball player. Neither of these would be possible if I did drugs.

By avoiding drugs and alcohol, I will stay healthy, keep my mind clear and focused, and be able to achieve my goals.

5th Grade Winner – Katie Bell, Boyd E. Smith Elementary School

I will never take drugs, and I hope other people won’t either. The reason I won’t, is because I want to be a professional soccer player when I grow up, and I also want to be an animal rescuer. If I take drugs, then it could mess up my eyesight, so I wouldn’t be able to see the ball, and it could also mess up my hearing, so I wouldn’t be able to hear the animals. Taking drugs could also make me little crazy, kind of like being drunk, and you’re not allowed to play professional sports if you’re like this, because people who work it do drug tests to see if you do drugs. It’s very hard to stop taking drugs once you’ve already started. Drugs could make me sick enough to kill me! And I can’t play soccer or rescue animals when I’m dead!

This year in 5th grade, we get to have D.A.R.E. with Officer Petrocelli, and I can’t wait for it to start! It’ll be super fun, and we’ll learn so much! D.A.R.E. is a drug free program that comes to your school and teaches you about drugs and how to resist them. I’ve heard it teaches you a lot about drugs. However, it’s not the only program. You can look it up, see if a friend or family member can recommend one, or start your own!

I will try to discourage people from taking drugs because I don’t want people to die. Also because don’t want people to think that doing bad things and putting themselves in danger is a good way to become popular, because some people do that. I’d also try to stop them from taking them because taking drugs is just a bad way to spend your life, and no one should live their life in danger just for the fun of it or to impress others. I hope that people will stop taking drugs or just not start, like me.

I think drugs are a bad thing and I will never take them. I hope other people will make that commitment too. I don’t know anybody who takes drugs, which is a good thing, but I’ll still look for people who do and tell them what it can do to them, and I hope other people will do that too. And I’ll remember that.

Congratulations to all winners!

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Posted on December 11, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on 2013 Red Ribbon Week Essay Contest Winners.

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