Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don't, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

2017 National Red Ribbon Photo Contest Winners

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2017 National Red Ribbon Photo Contest. We received hundreds of entries and votes in support of your entries. The contest is an opportunity to involve families and schools in spreading the Red Ribbon Week message widely in neighborhoods, communities and on social media. We are delighted to celebrate the following families, schools and communities working together to promote healthy, drug free kids.

Congratulations to the 20 winners from around the country who received the most votes in each category and region.

School Decoration Winners

Region 1 Winner Kelly Fox Braintree High School Braintree, MA

“This win is a perfect example to our students that when you put hard work and effort into all you do, good things can come from it. This year’s theme, ‘Your Future is Key so Stay Drug Free,’ started a great conversation with our students about their path in life. The theme was instrumental because I don’t think students in high school really get to see their future and how decisions made now can change their life in the future..”
Kelly Fox, Mother

The Red Ribbon contest allowed our students and faculty to come together to show their support for a drug free life. It is important to provide drug prevention education at an early age so that students understand the impact that drugs can have on an their overall well-being and on their future.”
Andrew Delery, Interim Headmaster

Region 2 Winner Christina Esteve Academy of Our Lady Glen Rock, NJ

“I have a family member who experienced drug addiction and I’ve seen firsthand how it affected his life. This is such a great program because it brings the whole community together for a common good. This contest allowed us to start an important dialogue about how important it is to stay drug free.”
Christina Esteve, Mother

“This is truly an honor as well as a reflection of the commitment our school has to the welfare of our children. I enjoyed seeing the entire school involved...children, faculty, parents and families. It is part of every school's obligation to educate the whole child and to provide them with the necessary strategies and skills to make wise choices and decisions.”
James Robert Newman, Principal

Region 3 Winner Vickie Shultz Cambridge Springs Jr./Sr. High School Cambridge Springs, PA

“The whole community responded. In one day, we had 2,000 visits from our school’s Facebook page. But, what I liked most about the contest was that my students were involved in it too. With the kids signing the board and voting every day, it reinforced the healthy lifestyle.”
Vickie Shultz, Mother & Educator

Region 4 Winner Jean Jupa East Lake Elementary Kissimmee, FL

“I think Red Ribbon Week helps unify the school because all grades are involved. The entire school gets together. The kids made keys, each with a different word about making good choices. Other students would pass by and say ‘look at that.’ It was a neat way to get students interested to learn more about it instead of just telling them to ‘just say no.’”
Jean Jupa, Teacher

Region 5 Winner Denise Terry Hartland Middle School Hartland, MI

“We want all of our students to contribute to our community and be aware to say no to drugs and help each other out when they are in need of help. We were so happy to participate and it was truly a community-wide event as we spread the word on our school’s website, newsletters and social media. We intend to use the prize to help expand our programs, like Club STAND (Students Taking A New Direction) and EBCE (Experienced based Career Education).”
Denise Terry, Teacher

“It is much easier to be proactive and prevent issues instead of responding to a serious problem. We enjoyed seeing all the students sign the drug free pledge and wear red for the Red Ribbon Week photo.”
Steve Livingway, Principal

Region 6 Winner Karina Rodriguez United South Middle School Laredo, TX

“The contest helped us talk to our students about drugs because it opened the door to have that conversation. I know some adults don’t mention it too much and just expect the students not to do drugs, but it’s something we do need to talk about to make sure they stay strong and make positive choices in their lives.”
Karina Rodriguez, School Counselor

Region 7 Winner Sherry Ross Dora R-3 School Dora, Mo

“We are so excited and know how important this issue is. Programs like Red Ribbon Week help us teach kids about drug abuse prevention. I can’t really put into words the importance of having a drug free message. It can make or break a kid. Kids need someone to believe in them to encourage them to avoid drugs in the first place. It gives them an opportunity to be successful in life.”
Sherry Ross, Teacher

Region 8 Winner Debbie Chatham Naples Elementary School Vernal, UT

“I don’t care where you are in the country, staying drug free is something we need to learn. It’s a national problem. These kids need to see more of these positive messages from programs like Red Ribbon Week. The photo contest pulled the school and the entire community together.”
Debbie Chatham, Principal

Region 9 Winner Noel Pickler George B. Miller Elementary School La Palma, CA

“We’re a small city so it was so exciting to see everyone rally and come together around such a positive message of drug prevention. This served as the ultimate toolkit to help our kids say no to drugs.”
Noel Pickler, Teacher

“I am thrilled that our school won. I am thankful to the parents, staff, and community members that made this happen. It was definitely a collaborative effort. Drug prevention is important because we know from research that prevention and early intervention reduces the impact of substance use later on in life.”
Dr. Stacy Chang, Principal

Region 10 Winner Terry Saunders Vista Middle School Ferndale, WA

“Both students and adults at our school worked hard making the background for the photo and getting the word out to parents and community to vote for our Natural High club. Drug addiction reaches all walks of life and it is important to educate our students. Our prevention club spreads the word that the majority of students do not use any type of substance through social norming campaigns.”
Terry Saunders, Counselor

Home Decoration Winners

Region 1 Winner Rivera Family Chapin Street School Ludlow, MA

“Our family looks forward to this contest each year. We still have our posters up from last year after my son, Gabriel, won the contest. This is truly a family affair. We believe it’s important to start having drug awareness conversations with our kids at a young age.”
Isabel Rivera, Mother

Region 2 Winner Ahmed Family Lackawanna Middle School Lackawanna, NY

“I could write a book on why drug prevention is so important. Addiction is really damaging. It wrecks lives. Not just the ones using, but everyone around them. My daughter had so much fun with this project. She loved doing the drawing and even more, she loved spreading the word.”
Tehany Ahmed, Mother

Region 3 Winner Shultz Family Cambridge Springs Jr./Sr. High School Cambridge Springs, PA

“Some of the neighborhood kids came over and we talked about Red Ribbon Week. I always say, ‘I hope you guys are making good decisions too.’ From what I’ve learned, every ten minutes someone in the US dies from a drug overdose. These students are our future workforce. They need to be productive in society. I don’t want them to become statistics.”
Vickie Shultz, Mother and Educator

Region 4 Winner Sims Family East Lake Elementary Kissimmee, FL

I was glad to help spread a good message. My kids and I talked about drugs as worked on the sign. It wasn’t our first discussion on the “don’t do drugs” topic, but doing stuff together and talking about that kind of thing opens up doors to future discussions and communications.”
Tory Sims, Father

Region 5 Winner Dusett Family Yale Junior High School Yale, MI

“My daughter, Ruth is thrilled to have won. I liked the important message of just spreading awareness about drug prevention. My daughter will be busy making good use of the iPad”
Jason Dusett, Fatherr

Region 6 Winner Brown Family Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy

“What I liked most about participating in the contest was getting everyone involved in doing a drug free contest and getting our family and their contacts to vote. It was a fun and educational experience for everyone.”
Kelsey Brown, Mother

“This is our third year to participate and we are thrilled that we have a winner! It was wonderful to participate in a contest focusing on such an important topic. The indirect effects of drug abuse can be just as significant as the direct effects and if we can prevent them from ever beginning, we are saving not only them but their future families from both heartache and harm.”
Gina Warren, Family Engagement Coordinator

Region 7 Winner Davison Family Dora R-III Dora, M0

“My brother died of a drug overdose and I think it’s really important to share a drug free message. Kids like active learning, not passive learning and Red Ribbon helps to do that. We make it fun but serious at the same time. We’re totally elated to have won."
Bev Davison, Teacher

"We are in a very small community and raising money for the students can be a challenge. The funds that will be generated from the contest will go to assist with Project Graduation for all of our high school students. This is a great message for them, that there are many other things to do on graduation night, other than using drugs or alcohol. ”
Rick Luna, Principal

Region 8 Winner Gustad Family Gayville-Volin High School Volin, SD

“We are super excited, especially for the school that’s in in need of extra funds. The contest was fun and with our community being small, everyone rallied around and got involved. We always try to promote being drug free and living a drug free life. Having Red Ribbon Week helps us to pump up the talk and keeps it ongoing.”
Amy Gustad, Mother

Region 9 Winner Oliva Family Country Hills Elementary Brea, CA

“I love Red Ribbon Week and we really liked the theme this year. We talked about what your future entails, how you become successful, what to do and what to avoid. It was fun. I’ve spoken to adults who remember participating in Red Ribbon activities as children. They remember it fondly. I believe it impacts young lives positively and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Josie Oliva, Mother

“It's never too early to teach kids the importance of a healthy lifestyle. We are so grateful for the opportunity to further promote the message that being drug free is key to a great life!”
Trish Walsh, Principal

Region 10 Winner Kanzler Family Jemtegaard Middle School Washougal, WA

“I remember celebrating Red Ribbon Week twenty plus years ago. I just like that message that you don’t need to do certain things to be cool and it was great to have a national campaign going along with what I felt. In our home, we often talk about the things we should or shouldn’t do. Red Ribbon Week was hand-in-hand with what we already do, but in a fun and creative way.”
Megan Kanzler, Mother

“I am so very excited to hear the news that our student has won. Drug prevention is important because our students are our future and they deserve to know the facts about how drugs can harm their brains and forever impact their lives. Students deserve to know that there are other choices in their lives that will lead them towards success and happiness.”
Wendy Butler, Prevention and Intervention Specialist

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