By Ellen Thompson/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Havre Middle School's Junior Helpers squealed in excitement and then moaned in embarrassment Tuesday morning when they saw their own faces on the television screen.
Seven of the Junior Helpers recorded "How to Say No!" in honor of Red Ribbon Week, the nationwide annual anti-drug campaign. The eight-minute program was broadcast throughout the school first thing in the morning.
The starring students acted out eight suggestions for refusing drugs. Club adviser Loretta Widdekind said the skit for each suggestion was ad-libbed by the students, while the script introducing each scenario was adapted from information given out to Junior Helpers who attended a three-day camp at Montana State University-Northern.
The students performed in front of a red set, decorated with red banners containing slogans.
The refusal suggestions are titled: "Saying No Thanks," "Giving a Reason or Excuse," "Broken Record," "Walk Away," "Change the Subject," "Avoid the Situation," "Cold Shoulder" and "Strength in Numbers." The skits all take place after one student reads a description of the suggestion.
One student read, "It is a good idea to have a reason or excuse stored in your memory."
When two students in the skit were invited to go do drugs, they answered that they had to go do homework, an answer that prompted some giggles among the Helpers.
After the ad-libbed skits, one Helper, sixth-grader Crysta Robinson read a poem written from the point of view of a teenager who has chosen not to drink and drive, but is killed when another driver makes a different choice.
The school's media class broadcasts a 15-minute news show that airs Monday mornings during homeroom period. The rest of the week, students watch an international news program. But Tuesday's news show was bumped by the Junior Helpers' recording.
"I thought it was going to be on yesterday. When it wasn't, I was happy," sixth- grader Jolen Keto confessed. Keto was featured in the "Walk Away" method of refusing drugs.
"It's embarrassing," another Helper added.
Though most Helpers grimaced when their own faces appeared, by the end of the show they were excited and said they looked forward to hearing from classmates.
"I think they did a pretty good job," Widdekind said.
She helped the club plan the event, and media class instructor David Evans recorded it for them.
At the end of the showing, one student repeated that it was embarrassing.
"Nobody was paying attention," Keto said.
"Everybody was," sixth-grader Cortney Bricker contradicted.
With this, the bell rang, and the students went to their classes.
On Thursday, HMS will also have a door-decorating contest for Red Ribbon Week. The results will be judged by Havre High School's four Helpers, the older version of Junior Helpers. Results will be announced Friday.
Highland Park Primary and Sunnyside Intermediate schools have converted slogans into costumes this week. Tuesday at Sunnyside, students were told to wear silly socks and "sock it to drugs." Today they will wear sweat materials because "staying off drugs is no sweat." Finally, on Friday, the students will wear their clothes backward to be reminded to "turn your back on drugs." Highland Park wore sweats Tuesday and will wear socks on Friday. On Wednesday the Highland Park students wore red and on Monday both the Highland Park and Sunnyside students met Officer McGruff, a police dog that reminds students to stay off drugs.
The high school is passing out ribbons and banners this week.