Two Dora teachers’ efforts win $2,000 in National Red Ribbon Week contest

This “keyhole” photo of Dora students sharing the drug-free message “Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free” was one of 10 winning school entries nationwide in the 2017 National Red Ribbon photo contest. Dora teachers Sherry Ross and Bev Davison led efforts that won $2,000 in prize money for the school. Dora students pictured are Lindsay Tabor, front. Middle row, from left: Mason Rice, Daniel Craig, Kelby Massey. Top: Kenny Coughlin, Skyler Ledbetter, Cameron Ward. Other student participants, not pictured, were Keeli Land, Andrew Turnbull and Sydnie Williams.

Dora R-III School had two big winners in the recent 2017 National Red Ribbon photo contest. Teacher Sherry Ross led students, faculty and staff in decorating the campus with this year’s theme, “Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free.” At the same time, teacher Bev Davison and her family honored the tradition of the nation’s oldest drug prevention campaign by decorating the front door of their home to promote their commitment to living a healthy and drug-free lifestyle. 

The two teachers’ efforts resulted in a $2,000 prize for the school from the Drug Enforcement Admin-istration, which co-sponsors National Red Ribbon Week each year with the National Family Partnership. 

Nationally, the contest named 20 winners – 10 home entries and 10 school entries in various regions throughout the nation. Close to 30,000 votes were cast in support of more than 350 contest entries. See all 2017 winning photo entries at

The prize money is to be used toward drug prevention efforts.

Ross and Davison also won an iPad each. 

Ross said that programs like Red Ribbon Week “help us teach kids about drug abuse prevention. I can’t really put into words the importance of having a drug-free message. It can make or break a kid. Kids need someone to believe in them to encourage them to avoid drugs in the first place. It gives them an opportunity to be successful in life.”

For Davison, the tragedy of drug abuse is heartbreakingly personal.

“My brother, David Ferris, died of a drug overdose, and I think it’s really important to share a drug-free message,” she said. “Kids like active learning, not passive learning and Red Ribbon helps to do that. We make it fun but serious at the same time.”

Each year, Davison reads to her health-class students a seven-page handwritten letter her brother wrote to her students several years ago while he was incarcerated on drug charges. Ferris later died at age 39. 

Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 after the abduction and murder of DEA Agent E “Kiki” Camarena. 

The first ever National Red Ribbon Week was organized by the National Family Partnership in 1988. NFP continues to sponsor the campaign for families, schools and communities across the nation each year. Since its inception, the campaign has touched millions of lives to promote and celebrate drug-free living. 

“We are in a very small community, and raising money for the students can be a challenge,” said Dora High School principal Rick Luna. “The funds from the contest will go to assist with Project Graduation for all of our high school students. This is a great message for them, that there are many other things to do on graduation night, other than using drugs or alcohol.”

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