We recently announced the 2017 National Red Ribbon Theme, Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free™. Now, we are proud to announce the winner of the theme contest: Iris Yu, a student at Solon Middle School in Solon, Ohio.
The school will receive national recognition and $500 in Red Ribbon Theme merchandise from Nimco, Inc. In addition to the attention she is receiving from her school community, Iris is receiving a great deal of support from her family.
“Our whole family is very excited and proud of Iris, especially her little brother,” said Wei Yu, Iris’ mom. “This topic is important to me as it’s important to everyone. Aside from all the social problems caused by drug abuse, as a parent, it’s just heartbreaking to see kids being victimized by drugs [when] they could have a bright future.”
Iris, who entered along with hundreds of classmates thanks to the dedication of her media arts teacher Cheryl Holsapfel, didn’t think she was going to win but had a good time trying.
“I [had] fun trying to think of various slogans,” said Iris. “I think that drug prevention is important because [drug use] has been popularized by pop culture and the media. I came up with the theme by first considering what doing drugs would affect, and the obvious answer to me was your future. The rest of the words kind of just fell into place afterwards.”
Holsapfel participates each year in the contest as a way to talk with her students about drugs. All of her students enter the contest and have done so for the past few years. Holsapfel’s intended message clearly got through to Iris.
“Drugs not only affect your brain, but your future as well,” said Iris. “You don’t get a second future. It’s why you do a lot of the things you do…in hopes of having a good future.”
To Iris’ mom, her daughter’s message for her peers across America is clear.
“There are so many beautiful places you could go. There are unlimited possibilities for you to explore. So don’t let drugs ruin it.”
Stay tuned for the release of the 2017 Red Ribbon Planning Guide and other wonderful materials available at www.redribbon.org/downloads.