Students at Cawood Elementary have reason to celebrate.

During a pizza party provided by Operation UNITE on November 10, approximately 75 students learned their school’s anti-drug UNITE Club was selected to receive the “Karen Engle Youth Impact Award” winner for elementary schools in the central region.

The award, for excellence during the 2009-10 school year, recognizes clubs that have gone above and beyond to spread the anti-drug message through unique and innovative programs within both their school and community. This award also reflects Clubs that have established strong mentoring programs.

Mentoring other students in math and reading was a major focus of the Cawood Elementary UNITE Club, but it certainly wasn’t the full extent of their efforts.

Club members assisted with Haiti relief efforts by raising more than 300 canned food items and 20 gallons of water. In addition, members volunteered to help with the school’s Block Party before testing, promoted positive events through bulletin board displays, and sponsored a 3-on-3 basketball tournament.

Because of their efforts the club was able to take a field trip to Natural Tunnel in Virginia.

During the party – which included presentation of a trophy and a $750 check that can be used for anti-drug programs during the current school term – the students were congratulated on being tops in test scores in Harlan County and 45th overall for Kentucky’s elementary schools.

Participating in the program were Principal Mike Cox, Club Sponsor Meghan Miniard, UNITE Education Director Debbie Trusty, UNITE Service Corps Director Eugene Newsome, and UNITE Coalition Coordinator Tom Vicini.