Seven months ago, the New Richmond Board of Education recognized Locust Corner Elementary School physical education teacher Tricia Nelson as a Leading Lion.
Due to the COVID-19 shutdown that started last March, the Board was unable to personally recognize Ms. Nelson. With meetings once again open to the public, the Board had its chance to celebrate Ms. Nelson’s achievement of winning the National Red Ribbon Week Theme Contest.
Ms. Nelson’s winning entry, “Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug Free,” appears on promotional items, including posters, related to the 2020 National Red Ribbon Week campaign.
The theme, selected from hundreds of submissions, is expected to amplify the campaign's mission of encouraging children, families, and communities to live healthy, drug-free lives, according to a statement from the Red Ribbon Campaign.
As a teacher in the New Richmond Exempted Village School District, Ms. Nelson said she aims to instill hope and strength in her students each and every day.
“I often tell my students that they are brave and strong, especially if they are having a hard time with a new activity,” she said. “I really would like the theme to inspire others for use as their mantra. Bravery is not just for superheroes,” she said.
Last year, Ms. Nelson’s students participated in a dress-up day called “Sock it to Drugs.” Students also discussed making healthy choices and talked about their future hopes and dreams.
“I love how the campaign starts a difficult conversation between students and teachers. I hope that when faced with tough decisions, students look back, remember Red Ribbon Week and make healthy choices,” Ms. Nelson said.
Locust Corner Elementary School Principal Joe Roach isn’t surprised that Ms. Nelson crafted the winning theme. She’s an outstanding educator who is gifted in her ability to connect to individual students.
“She builds relationships where students feel comfortable coming to her not just about growing physically, but also emotionally,” Mr. Roach said. “Since Tricia's first-day teaching at Locust Corner, she has taken the initiative in helping to make our school be an even better place to learn. Even though she was new to our school at the start of the year, she wanted to jump right in on the first day and lead our students as their Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) adviser.”
For submitting the winning theme, Ms. Nelson received $500 in Red Ribbon Week themed merchandise.
Red Ribbon Week, the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention program, is held annually from Oct. 23 through Oct. 31. New Richmond Schools are observing Red Ribbon Week Oct. 26-30.