Denair High Earns County Recognition for Red Ribbon Week

Submitted by Denair High School

Denair High School was awarded second place among all high schools in Stanislaus County for its enthusiastic and persuasive programs associated with Red Ribbon Week on Oct. 23-27.

High school, middle school and elementary campuses were evaluated by officials from the county Office of Education, who made site visits. They used a point system that factored in student, staff and parental involvement as well as decorations and signs associated with Red Ribbon events.

Schools across the country celebrate Red Ribbon Week, which began in 1980 as a way to discourage drug use among children while promoting healthy behaviors. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan was one of the original proponents.

At Denair High, student members of the PHAST (Protecting Health and Slamming Tobacco) Club worked with staff advisor Melissa Treadwell to orchestrate an informative and fun series of events.

On Monday the 23rd, students arrived on campus to see the wreckage from a car accident. The scene was a sobering example of what can happen if people drink and drive, text and drive or are under the influence of drugs and drive. A video was shown to students the previous Friday introducing the topic.

The rest of the week included a drug dog demonstration, a presentation from Denair Fire Department, and plenty of music, games and prizes supporting the message. The California Highway Patrol used goggles worn by students sitting behind the wheel of a car that simulated what it was like to be drunk and try to drive.

“The kids did a great job coordinating everything,” Treadwell said.

Denair Principal Kara Backman said Red Ribbon Week is an important part of preparing teens for the future and teaching them to make good choices.

“We believe in providing opportunities for students through academic rigor and extracurricular activities,” she said. “We believe that awareness and grit help guide students emotional maturity toward a successful college and career path.”

Treadwell and five Denair PHAST Club members will be honored at a ceremony Dec. 12 at the county schools office in Modesto. Hughson finished first among high schools.

Tobacco Expert Delivers Powerful Message About Addiction

Submitted by Denair High School

Victor DeNoble’s story reads like something out of a spy novel. Hired by cigarette maker Phillip Morris in the early ’80s to find a heart-healthy replacement for nicotine, he soon discovered the lethal and powerfully addictive impacts of tobacco products via testing on rats.

Handcuffed by a confidential contract against sharing his knowledge, he eventually found a way to blow the whistle on the industry and testify before Congress, shattering decades of silence about one of the world’s leading killers.

Beyond all the cloak-and-dagger details DeNoble shared Monday to Denair High School students was one all-important fact: Despite the sweeping changes in people’s perceptions and knowledge about tobacco, it’s still as dangerous as ever.

Worse yet, the industry – knowing long-term users are those most likely to die from their habit – appears to be using electronic cigarettes and vaping to target and ever younger demographic who aren’t as aware of the risks.

“There are literally thousands of flavors,” the fast-talking DeNoble told the attentive students. “And nicotine level has been lowered so they don’t have to report it. But the danger is real.”

DeNoble makes 350 to 400 appearances a year before students of all ages as well as other groups. He came to Denair on the invitation of the 25-member PHAST (Protecting Health and Slamming Tobacco) Club. Earlier Monday, he was at Beyer High School in Modesto

He punctuates his presentations with photos of the rats he tested three decades, colorful charts and graphs, and multiple props – including two human brains he says were permanently altered because by nicotine addiction.

It takes only weeks and months for users to become addicted, DeNoble said, but five to 10 years or more for most people to overcome their craving. Continue reading “Tobacco Expert Delivers Powerful Message About Addiction” »