By KATIE ATKINS
OBSERVER Staff Writer
Gowanda and Dunkirk elementary schools are crusading behind anti-drug campaign Red Ribbon Week in the days leading up to Halloween.
Gowanda students kicked off Red Ribbon Week with a performance by karate masters from Supreme Karate Studio in Gowanda as Margaret Moritz, right, demonstrates a karate move for a student.
Gowanda Elementary Principal Janice R. Stokes said, "We are having quite the big event on the 31st because it's the end of Red Ribbon Week."
School Resource Officer Jen Allesi said the finale will be titled "Don't horse around with drugs" and the school's Halloween parade, weather permitting, will be led by the Erie County Sheriff's Department and their mounted division at 2 p.m. In addition to the horse-led parade, Buffalo Bills mascot Billy Buffalo and a few Buffalo Jills cheerleaders will be in attendance.
Stokes said excitedly, "Traditionally, we just have a costume parade in our parking lot."
Gowanda's first day of the campaign was Oct. 23 and titled, "Give drugs a chop" day, where a local sensei demonstrated martial arts. Other themes are planned for the days leading up to the 31st.
Dunkirk Elementary School Supervisor Daniel Genovese said, "We're doing something a little different this year," celebrating the holiday in conjunction with the campaign. "There's a number of activities scheduled each day."
At School 3, the campaign kicked off when students wore red to show unity against illegal drugs.
Genovese said other plans include students filling out red ribbons to show appreciation to parents and staff who have influenced them positively and a "healthy me is drug free" day to stress the importance of health. Other themes include, "Team up against drugs," where students wear their favorite sports jerseys.
On the day of Halloween, students will wear their favorite costumes and, "Say 'boo' to drugs," Genovese said.
Of the four elementary schools within the Dunkirk district, Genovese said, "The things that we do, each school has a little different theme, but basically it's similar."
There will also be a poster and sign contest with gift card awards for creativity.
Genovese also said, "We have classroom window messages and then each day, the students recite a pledge about staying in school and learning. It's something we try to involve the community with, our Parent-Teacher organizations and, obviously, our entire teaching staff."
At School 3, a Halloween parade will take place at 1 p.m. to celebrate both the holiday and the end of the campaign.
As for other Halloween events taking place at area schools, Forestville Superintendent Chuck Leichner said, "The Parent Connection (our PTA) creates an elaborate haunted house each year for our elementary students to enjoy and the members of the senior class dress up and walk through the elementary school visiting classrooms and handing out treats to the children in pre-kindergarten through grade six."
Fredonia Elementary School is having an activity night sponsored by its PTA from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gym. Children are asked to dress up.
Brocton Elementary will hold a costume parade in the elementary school gym at 1:30 p.m.
Sinclairville Elementary's parade will be held at 2 p.m.
At Westfield Elementary School, students from kindergarten through fifth grade will participate in a Halloween parade through the building at 1 p.m. Once each class is done parading, they will return to their rooms for individual class parties.
A Halloween dance will be Friday at the middle school from 7 to 9 p.m.
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