Garrett Elementary has been named a finalist for the 2016 Governor’s Red Ribbon Campaign competition.
On Friday, more than a dozen Garrett students and Principal Stacey Walk will attend an awards celebration with Gov. Nathan Deal at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta.
“We’re so excited,” said Dr. Lutricia Parkman, a counselor at Garrett Elementary. “I have so many great memories from my time in elementary school, and it means so much for these kids to participate in an event like this.”
Since 1985, the annual National Red Ribbon Campaign has focused on teaching students the importance of living a drug-free life.
This year, Garrett Elementary held a parade with the theme “YOLO (You Only Live Once) Be Drug Free.” Garrett is one of four elementary schools in the state selected as a finalist.
“The goal of the parade was to bring about community involvement and awareness to the issue of drug abuse,” said Parkman, who will attend the celebration in Atlanta. “Our students took great pride in making a difference in the community by encouraging all to live a drug-free life.”
Parkman entered Garrett Elementary in the contest by submitting an essay and photographs of numerous Red Ribbon Week events, which took place in October. On Jan. 27, as she was preparing to leave school for the weekend, Parkman checked her email and saw a message from Barbara Dorman, the Red Ribbon coordinator.
“The first word I saw was, ‘Congratulations,’” Parkman said. “I immediately did a double take. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.”
Walk, who is in her first year as Garrett’s principal, said, “I’m beyond elated.”
“What an honor,” Walk said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our students and faculty for this accomplishment. It means a great deal to our students.”
Among the students who will be in attendance at the Fernbank Museum is 10-year-old Mason Roundtree, the nephew of Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree.
“This is my first time going on a trip like this with my friends,” Mason said. “I’m really excited because this is a big honor for Garrett Elementary.”
According to Parkman, 13 students – from second to fifth grade – were invited to attend the celebration. Pupils were recommended by their teachers based on good grades and behavior.
Fourth-grader Valeria Mora was one of the chosen kids.
“I’m so excited to meet the governor,” Valeria said. “It’s going to be a great day.”
Reach Doug Stutsman at (706) 823-3341