Elementary students compete for good causes

By Dick Mason, The Observer October 28, 2013 10:15 am
Finding a fifth-grader on Island City Elementary School’s west field Friday who was not a picture of energy and excitement was like trying to locate someone complaining about the day’s spectacular weather — it was impossible.

Approximately 110 fifth-graders from Island City and Greenwood elementary schools put their disc tossing and catching skills to the test in an annual Ultimate Frisbee tournament. 

The tournament raised the pulse rates of the Greenwood and Island City students and their awareness of two critical subjects — the importance of drug- and alcohol-free lifestyles and the need to support others in the fight against breast cancer.

Students have been honing their Ultimate Frisbee skills since the start of the school year and were clearly eager to showcase them at the tournament, which had 14 teams, six from Greenwood and eight from Island City.

“This is one of the best days (at school) all year,” said Greenwood fifth-grade teacher Missy Rinker.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and last week was Red Ribbon Week, an alcohol, drug and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually in October in the United States. Students wore red and pink clothing to symbolize their moral support for those fighting breast cancer and red to show their commitment to drug- and alcohol-free lifestyles.

Nobody wore more pink during the Ultimate Frisbee contest than Island City fifth-grade teacher Tory Weimer, who officiated many of the tournament’s contests. Weimer wore a pink shirt, headband, tie, gloves and socks. He did so in response to a friendly dare from teachers and students. Weimer was offered a pastry if he would agree to wear as much pink as possible. He said that he wore his pink attire proudly.

“I enjoyed it and the kids enjoyed it,” Weimer said.

Teachers discussed Red Ribbon Week and the need for breast cancer awareness with their students prior to the tournament. Sean White, a counselor at Greenwood and Island City elementary schools, told students that their decision to choose drug- and alcohol-free lifestyles is one of the most important ones they will ever make. White told the students that many people use drugs to help them feel good about themselves. Ironically, it is the people who do not use drugs and live healthy lifestyles who actually have the highest self-esteem.

“If you take care of yourself, chances are you will not take drugs to feel good about yourself,” White said.

Red Ribbon Week was recognized throughout the La Grande School District, including Central Elementary School where students had red-themed activities all week. Students did things such as trace outlines of their hands with red paint on paper. Each student who did this was pledging to live a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle, said Central Principal Reta Doland.

Red Ribbon Week activities concluded at Central Friday afternoon when red clad students organized themselves in the shape of red ribbon on their school field.