LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - For many districts, the school color of the week is "red." This is National Red Ribbon Week, a time set aside to raise awareness about the dangers of teen drug and alcohol abuse. Schools in Long Beach have a list of events to kick off the week, including a heart-wrenching skit written and performed by students.
Fifty Advanced Drama students at Long Beach Middle School spent part of Monday rehearsing for their most dramatic roles yet. On Wednesday, they will play fictional students whose lives ended too soon and so tragically.
"I overdosed on prescription pills by accident," said one eighth grader.
"When he asked me to smoke pot with him, I did and I got expelled from school. I was so devastated that I committed suicide," said another student.
"We got hit and killed by a drunk driver," another eighth grader said.
On graduation night, a time of celebration and hope, those ghosts appeared to share their painful stories.
"Everything was fine until somebody brought out the alcohol, and I started drinking with all my friends. What a mistake!" said eighth grader Wynn Reed, whose "Dead Narrator" character sets the tone of the play.
The drama students wrote the script for the skit titled "The Phantom Graduating Class of 2018" to address a problem among our youth and to send a message during Red Ribbon Week.
"My character succumbs to a lot to peer pressure and I'm trying to display to the audience that peer pressure is not something you have to fall into," said Reed.
"I just wanted people to know that to not get started with drugs, because you can end it easily," said eighth grader Sarah Jane Bishop.
"Not to drink and drive 'cause it can kill instantly anybody," said eighth grader Lauren Parkinson.
Over at Quarles Elementary Schools, teachers also encouraged the children to look forward to their future.
"For us to celebrate students who want to make good choices and stay away from things that can hurt them, especially bad choices and drugs that can harm them," said counselor Victoria Magers.
The students wrote down their goals for the future.
"To be a scuba diver and help all the animals under the sea," said one boy.
"To be a scientist," said another boy.
"I want to be a veterinarian," said a girl.
Those wishes were tied to red balloons and released into the sky to show that the students will soar high to reach their dreams. There are other activities related to Red Ribbon Week, including "Tacky Dress-Up Thursday" to show that drugs are tacky.
The skit at the middle school will be performed on Wednesday at 9:15 AM and again at 1:15 PM. It will be at the Long Beach Middle School gym and the public is invited.