*SOTO Student Insiders is a weekly feature created by Osage High School seniors (Gratian Adams, Karli Kinnison, Riley Kinnison & Jada Smith to highlight events, people & topics at School of the Osage.

There are few better ways to capture the attention of students than to let them wear pajamas to school. This was OHS Student Council’s method to raise awareness for Red Ribbon Week 2023. Red Ribbon Week is a nationally recognized substance use prevention campaign. The campaign began in memory of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, who was killed in his efforts against illegal drugs in 1985. After his death, his community wore red badges to educate young people on the dangers of drug use.

This past week, OHS recognized Red Ribbon Week by hosting a spirit week. Tuesday was “drugs can be a nightmare,” where students were encouraged to wear their Halloween pajamas. Wednesday was “drugs are creepy and kooky.” Inspired by the Addams family, the school either wore black or dressed up as a character from the show. On Thursday, students wore flannels like scarecrows to “scare the drugs away.” The grand finale, Freaky Friday, had students dressing as teachers and vice versa to remind students, “Don’t be in a hurry to age too quickly; stay away from drugs.”

On Wednesday, Always Osage, a student group focused on helping their peers feel like they belong in school, hosted a meeting to discuss the meaning of Red Ribbon Week. During their lunch meeting, staff and student leaders instigated discussions about substance use and how to find activities that create a “natural high,” such as sports, art, or other hobbies.

As students learn the realities and dangers of substance abuse, it is just as important that they go out to an educated community. Attached are the Red Ribbon and Natural High websites which outline activities and resources for our community to support our youth, and furthermore, our future.