Ten school anti-drug UNITE Clubs have been recognized as “Clubs of the Year” for their outstanding efforts and accomplishments during the 2012-13 school year.
Winning UNITE Clubs are:
- James D. Adams Middle – Floyd County
- Mt. Vernon Elementary – Rockcastle County
- Page School Center (Elementary & Middle)- Bell County
- Porter Elementary – Johnson County
- Red River Valley Elementary – Wolfe County
- Rockcastle County High – Rockcastle County
- Rockcastle County Middle – Rockcastle County
- Shelby Valley High – Pike County
- Shelton Clark High – Martin County
- Whitesburg Middle – Letcher County
See below for a brief overview of each club’s accomplishments.
In addition to a trophy, each of these clubs will be allocated $750 by Operation UNITE to fund anti-drug activities during the current school term.
Last school year there were 118 registered UNITE Clubs in 26 counties with a total of 9,572 student members – the largest participation since clubs were first established during the 2005-06 school year.
To qualify for Club of the Year honors, students submitted scrapbooks showcasing their monthly activities, service projects and mentoring activities. Scrapbooks were judged in elementary, middle and high school categories to determine regional winners.
“Once again the selection committee was impressed with the amount of amazing and innovative activities UNITE Club members were engaged in throughout the school year,” said Debbie Trusty, UNITE education director. “These students help raise awareness about the dangers posed by substance abuse or misuse, not only among their classmates but throughout their homes and communities as well.”
Participation in a UNITE Club increases the students’ protective factors, such as providing positive role models for other students, building self-esteem, engaging in healthy lifestyles, striving for high student achievement, and creating positive relationships.
“Students participate in service projects at school and in the community that are aimed at increasing their awareness of civic responsibility and development of leadership qualities,” Trusty said. “UNITE Clubs help youth develop healthy attitudes and behaviors by learning and practicing life skills, enhancing academic performance, connecting peers, adults, communities and learning through service.”
UNITE Club activities
James D. Adams Middle
James D. Adams Middle’s UNITE Club had just 18 student members during the 2012-13 school year, but they had quite an impact. Members conducted a presentation about drugs with a representative from Mountain Regional Prevention, created Christmas cards that were sent to residents of the Layne House Treatment Center, and created flyers to promote the new drug drop-box at Prestonsburg City Hall. In addition they participated in a drunk driving simulation, distributed candy at a Safe Trick-or-Treat event, and held several activities as part of Red Ribbon Week. In 2010, the club was honored with a special “Fundraiser Award” for their initiatives. Sponsor was Michelle Heathley.
Mt. Vernon Elementary
For the seventh straight year, Mt. Vernon Elementary’s UNITE Club has been recognized for its outstanding efforts. They have been named “Club of the Year” six times, and were recognized with UNITE’s “Youth Impact Award” in 2010. The club had 217 students during the 2012-13 school year. Projects conducted by club members included the “Wipe Out Drugs” contest in conjunction with the annual UNITE Bowl football game to benefit local treatment facilities, collecting and mailing 350 cards for the American Red Cross’s “Holiday Mail For Heros” campaign, and conducted a “Pair Up Against Drugs” shoe drive for the Family Resource Center and clothing bank. The group helped distribute and collect quilt squares for a Friendship Quilt sent to Sandy Hook Elementary School, presented at the Rockcastle UNITE Coalition community dinner, hosted a Remix Education drug prevention assembly program, hosted Kevin Fletcher to share his experiences with the effects of drugs, and manned a booth at parent-teacher conference with anti-drug information. Sponsors were Kristy Parkey and Cindy McCullough.
Page School Center (Elementary & Middle)
Page School Center had two clubs during the 2012-13 school year – 134 students in grades 4-6 and 80 students in grades 7-8. Their combined efforts are recognized by this year’s award. It is the first time the school has been named a “UNITE Club of the Year.” Among their many activities, members traveled once a month to the Lighthouse Mission Training Center to assist with their Backpack program, performed the song “Hold On” for the Rockcastle County UNITE Coalition, recorded a six-song CD to sell as a club fundraiser, visited the Pineville Community Nursing Home and Mountain Heritage Nursing Home to sing Christmas carols and present each resident a gift, collected more than 7,300 ounces of food during a fall food drive, and collected 1,570 rolls of toilet paper for the Ray of Hope and Bell County Homeless Shelter. In addition, the club hosted “Addicted: A Dose of Reality” and “One-Step Misery” awareness programs for parents, conducted the STEP-UP student/teacher education program, conducted a “Scare Drugs Away” costume drive to give to children who did not have a costume, collected aluminum tabs from cans for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass, participated in the “Walking for Autism” awareness program, and hosted a school assembly with Remix Education. Sponsors were Aleisha Lewis and Katara Perkins.
Porter Elementary’s UNITE Club had 187 members during the 2012-13 school year. They are a first-time recipient of “Club of the Year” honors. Club activities included: collecting food for a local pantry, adopting two Christmas angels and purchasing gifts, and participating in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Pennies for Patients” campaign. They hosted an educational school assembly with Remix Education, an impaired driving program for fifth-graders, and motivational speaker Herman Weaver. The club conducted a Red Ribbon Week banner contest and a “Protect Your Heart, Don’t Start” campaign during Valentine’s Day. Club sponsors were Amanda Skaggs and Lynn Wilcox.
Red River Valley Elementary
Red River Valley Elementary’s UNITE Club had 68 members during the 2012-13 school year. This is their first time to receive the award. Members conducted a “Make a Difference Food Drive” that resulted in 18,488 ounces of food, presented “Too Scary for Drugs” to the student body, performed a student mentoring ready day to younger students, and made Christmas cards for residents at the Wolfe County Nursing Home. In addition, they participated in a Safety Day for various grades, conducted pumpkin decorating and poster contests, and held daily activities during Red Ribbon Week. Sponsor was Belinda Ferguson.
Rockcastle County High
Rockcastle County High’s UNITE Club has been recognized for excellence every year since 2009. They have been named “Club of the Year” four times and received the “Youth Impact Award” in 2010. There were 122 student members during the 2012-13 school year. Activities included helping plan in the annual UNITE Bowl football game and memorial balloon launch, participating in the “Fire in the Mountains” prayer rally, and mentoring elementary students in after-school programs and through their “Rocket Readers” program. Community outreach efforts included UNITE Presents performing the acclaimed “Everything” skit across the region, partnering with the Family Resource and Youth Service Center, participating in the “Love in the Box” project for needy children, and helping to plan the annual Rockcastle County UNITE Coalition annual celebration dinner. Sponsor was Dustin McClure.
Rockcastle County Middle
For the fifth consecutive year, Rockcastle County Middle School’s UNITE Club has been honored for its excellent programs. They have been named “Club of the Year” four times and were a “Youth Impact Award” recipient in 2010. With 225 students during the 2012-13 school year, members participated in the “Wipe Out Drugs” contest in conjunction with the annual UNITE Bowl football game to benefit local treatment facilities, raised $1,000 in a “Pennies for Patients” campaign, hosted an anti-drug assembly program with Ron Cole, and hosted the Rockcastle County Community Awareness celebration. Sponsors were Lesha Cromer, Angie Payne and Kim Hunter.
Shelby Valley High
With 183 student members, the Shelby Valley UNITE Club conducted many activities to raise drug awareness among their peers. They hosted a Kelly Wells basketball camp, presented a skit based on the book “The Hunger Games” at the Pike County HOT Conference and area schools, conducted a mock crash event that included many community partners, and held a poster contest to promote the “Fire in the Mountains” anti-drug rally. In addition they participated in a UNITE “2 Smart 4 Drugs” competition, held freshman orientation for the Wildcats UNITEd club, and organized daily Red Ribbon Week activities. The school was named a regional “Club of the Year” finalist in 2007 and received the “Youth Impact Award” in 2010. Sponsor was Shrulla Hall.
Shelton Clark High
Though Sheldon Clark High’s UNITE Club had only 12 students during the 2012-13 school year, they had a huge impact. The Club received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, “Aim to Serve,” for outstanding service within their community – providing 2,589 volunteer hours with an estimated saving of $19,415.50. In addition, they conducted a recycling project at Inez Elementary School, conducted a “Distribute Food, Not Drugs” drive for the Rocking Appalachian Mom Project, participated in Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs, and helped sponsor a regional archery tournament. Club members also participated in a Christmas project with Point of Hope’s Crusaders, read to local elementary school students during Dr. Seuss Week, held a Recovery Month poster contest, participated in the Army’s Earth Day event, and the Gardening Club’s “Grow Love, Not Drugs” initiative. The school is a repeat winner, having been named “Club of the Year” in 2009. Sponsors were Mark and Stephanie Rodriguez
Whitesburg Middle’s UNITE Club has been recognized for excellence every year since the awards were first presented in 2006 — six times named “Club of the Year,” a regional finalist in 2007, and a “Youth Impact Award” winner 2010. There were 96 student members during the 2012-13 school year. Members were again very active. They completed a research project, coordinated a school-wide coal fair, and competed at the regional level, taking second place overall. Members provided entertainment for Literacy Night by dancing and sharing favorite genres of literature, mentored to underclassmen, conducted a Valentine’s Day assembly and participated in Christmas Caroling throughout town. They hosted a school awards presentation performing a “Drugs are Scary” skit they had written; created, produced and performed their own version of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” to the student body; made contributions to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and conducted a “Pink Out” to support a teacher who is a breast cancer survivor. Their sponsor was Debi Sexton.